Candidates front up to become NSW Police Commissioner

Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn, NSW Police Force and Acting Deputy CommissionerNeil Gauhan, n Federal Police, joing press conference regarding the 5 arrested in joint counter-terror raids overnight. Photographed Wednesday 7tn October 2015. Photograph by James Brickwood. SMH NEWS 151007 Photo: James BrickwoodAfter years of speculation, jostling, at some points infighting, and a two-month application process that culminated with interviews on Friday, an announcement on who will replace Andrew Scipione as NSW Police Commissioner is due within the fortnight.

Mr Scipione’s long-serving deputy commissioner, Catherine Burn, is the most senior serving officer to be interviewed for the role but her involvement in a long-running bugging scandal may have cruelled her chances.

Ms Burn has rejected adverse findings made against her by the Ombudsman over the scandal.

Former deputy commissioner Nick Kaldas may be the most highly credentialled applicant to ever apply to be NSW commissioner but again, the Ombudsman’s bugging report, and the fact he has left the force on medical grounds may work against him.

Dave Hudson, the other deputy commissioner, was interviewed but is not believed to be among the frontrunners at this stage

Instead, the speculation is that the NSW government may look for generational change and appoint from the assistant commissioner rank or outside the force.

Assistant Commissioner Mick Fuller had been touted as the frontrunner and, as one of the younger candidates, the current Sydney Metropolitan Region chief would signal that generational change.

His fellow Assistant Commissioner Jeff Loy has a reputation as one of the force’s brightest minds.

Currently the Northern Region Commander, Mr Loy has a lower profile than many of the other candidates.

Geoff McKechnie, another Assistant Commissioner, is also in the running and is fancied to fill one of the vacant deputy positions.

Outside NSW Police, the n Border Force chief Roman Quaedvlieg was interviewed for the commissioner’s job on Friday.

If successful, it would be the first time since Peter Ryan’s controversial appointment in 1996 that the NSW force has looked outside its own ranks.

Mr Quaedvlieg’s appointment would also most likely be met with opposition from the NSW Police Association, which wants Mr Scipione’s replacement to come from within the force.

His appointment would most likely bring about changes in the senior ranks with Mr Quaedvlieg believed to have outlined his plans for modest reform within the force during discussions with the government.

The state government has said Mr Scipione’s replacement is expected to be known when he finishes in the role on April 2.