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Leading into the future - new Deputies for the AFP

The past 12 months has proved to be a catalyst for change in the AFP. Along with becoming part of the newly created Home Affairs Portfolio, Commissioner Andrew Colvin has initiated several reforms to help meet the challenges of a rapidly evolving criminal environment.

The changes focus on key areas of capability and culture, helping to build capacity and ensure the AFP reflects the diversity of the community it serves. As part of this process, a fourth Deputy Commissioner has been sworn in.

Karl Kent OAM has a distinguished career in policing and national security operations. As Deputy Commissioner Transnational Serious and Organised Crime (TSOC), Deputy Commissioner Kent will lead national efforts to combat the serious and rapidly evolving threat posed by transnational, serious and organised crime; including child exploitation, human trafficking and slavery, illicit drugs, illicit firearms and money laundering.

In conjunction with the creation of the fourth Deputy Commissioner position, former National Manager Organised Crime Neil Gaughan has been sworn in as AFP Deputy Commissioner Operations.

In this role, Deputy Commissioner Gaughan is responsible for overseeing AFP operations across a range of crime types, including cybercrime and International Operations. He replaces Deputy Commissioner Leanne Close, who now fills the role of Deputy Commissioner National Security. In this role she is responsible for national and international counter-terrorism investigations, as well as AFP operations at Australia’s international airports and Protection Operations.

The AFP’s ability to perform this role has recently been boosted, with a budget announcement by the Federal Government to increase the security presence of police at designated airports.

Working in concert with Deputy Commissioner Capability Ramzi Jabbour, the Deputies are responsible for how the AFP responds to the challenges of policing in the 21st Century. With a wealth of policing experience between them, the group is well placed to build on the AFP’s reputation for excellence.

Deputy Commissioner Kent has a distinguished career in policing and national security operations, both within the AFP and Victoria Police.

Over 30 years, he has served the community in Australia and overseas. He was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his contribution to the investigation into the Bali bombings in 2002. In 2004, he led an Australian Police Disaster Victim Identification team to Thailand in response to the Indian Ocean Tsunami disaster.

On left, new AFP Deputy Commissioner Operations Neil Gaughan and the AFP’s first Deputy Commissioner Transnational Serious and Organised Crime Karl Kent are sworn in this year.

He was subsequently elected as Joint Chief of Staff during the crisis, and later awarded a Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal for his contribution to the operation.

Deputy Commissioner Gaughan has had a distinguished career with the AFP which spans more than 30 years. He has extensive operational experience in general policing and investigative roles in ACT Policing and AFP National Operations, as well as a wealth of international exposure.

During his time as National Manager Counter Terrorism, the portfolio almost doubled in size as a result of the significant increase in the global terrorist threat.

Deputy Commissioner Gaughan was involved in the development of contemporary Australian Counter Terrorism policy, and contributed to national countering violent extremism strategies. He championed significant legislative reform and worked collaboratively with regional partners to combat terrorism regionally and globally.

More recently, as National Manager Organised Crime, he has championed new approaches to the AFP’s core business and been a strong driver of forming productive partnerships, with both government and industry.

Deputy Commissioner Close began her career in policing soon after finishing her studies, and has more than three decades working in operational law enforcement. After serving as Deputy Chief Police Officer in ACT Policing, Deputy Commissioner Close worked across several AFP Portfolios including Protection, Human Resources and Aviation before her appointment as the then Deputy Commissioner Operations – the first woman to be appointed to a ‘DC’ role within the AFP.

Deputy Commissioner National Security Leanne Close conducts an AFP recruit graduation ceremony.

Deputy Commissioner Close has worked on major fraud and narcotics investigations and has had collaborative stints with the Australian Securities Investment Commission and the Attorney General’s Department. She has also worked in intelligence, surveillance and the (ACT) Territory Investigation Group, which looks at major assaults, murders, drug crimes and fraud.

Deputy Commissioner National Security Leanne Close undertakes ‘Immediate Action Rapid Deployment’ operational safety training.

Deputy Commissioner Jabbour began his career with the AFP in 1990 and has extensive operational experience in a wide array of disciplines.

He has held senior law enforcement roles covering community policing, anti-money laundering, counter terrorism, major drug importation and trafficking, people smuggling, serious fraud and human trafficking.

Deputy Commissioner Jabbour has also performed the role of National Manager Serious and Organised Crime and has been responsible for the AFP’s International Network, investigations and the Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce.

Deputy Commissioner Capability Ramzi Jabbour has had extensive senior law enforcement experience covering counter terrorism, people smuggling and serious fraud.

Overall, and while overseeing a diverse amount of professional and organisational change, Commissioner Colvin said that ongoing progress within the AFP is pleasing.

“We are working to deliver an AFP funding model that will allow us to invest more money into the capabilities we need to keep Australia safe,” he said.

“And we are continuing to lead the way when it comes to cultural change. This is courageous, important and difficult work. The AFP Senior Leadership Group extends this culture of sharing to our Home Affairs partner agencies – a culture that values respect, diversity and continuous improvement.”