Commissioner heads to Warwick; where it all began

This month the Australian Federal Police (AFP) marks the centenary of Federal policing in Australia.

To commemorate the occasion AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin is travelling to Warwick, Queensland – the location of where it all began – to reflect on the AFP beginnings and the journey that has led to the AFP of today.

“We take enormous pride in what we have achieved in our first 100 years and look forward to keeping Australians safe in our second century,” Commissioner Colvin said.

Warwick is significant in the establishment of the Federal police as the location of an assault of Prime Minister of the day Billy Hughes at a rally.

He was in Warwick as part of a tour in which he was campaigning for conscription to help boost our war efforts in Europe.

The Prime Minister had launched into his speech to a crowd gathered at the local railway station when an egg was hurled in his direction, knocking off his hat in the process.

Prime Minister Hughes was aghast at his treatment and he launched into the crowd to make an example of the offender, Patrick Brosnan.

The PM asked the local police sergeant to arrest Brosnan. Interestingly, the sergeant refused, saying it was not in his jurisdiction to take action – and he was possibly right.

Angered by this turn of events, the Prime Minister vowed to create his own police force – and so he did.

But the AFP of today is a far cry to the small force of 1917.

“The world has changed a lot since 1917 when an event in Warwick saw the creation of Australia’s first Commonwealth Police Force,” Commissioner Colvin said.

“Back in 1917, no-one could have imagined 100 years on, police would be targeting crime types such as terrorism, child exploitation, money laundering and massive drug importations.

“Sophistication of crime is always a challenge for the AFP and transnational crime and the emergence of cybercrime has thrown a new element into the AFP’s business.

“As always, the AFP rises to the challenge and meets crime head on,” Commissioner Colvin said.


Note to editors:

The actual 100 year anniversary of the incident is on 29 November 2017.

On Saturday 18 November 2017, the AFP is commemorating the centenary of Federal policing in Australia by holding events in Warwick, which will include a flag-raising and plaque unveiling ceremony at Warwick Railway Station, an afternoon tea and a formal dinner at the Warwick Town Hall.

For more information on the event visit:


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