From Constable to Chief Police Officer for the ACT


tags: ACT, AFP, Canberra,

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From the December 2013 issue of the APJ.

It’s often said that the most successful senior executives are those who started at the bottom and worked their way up because they understand the business from both ends of the spectrum.

Such is the case with ACT Policing’s new Chief Police Officer Rudi Lammers, who, after leaving the Illawarra region where he grew up, began his policing career at the AFP College in Barton as a young recruit.

He progressed up through the ranks, from Constable to Senior Constable to Sergeant, Superintendent and Commander to Assistant Commissioner, and was seconded to every police station during his time in ACT Policing.

He believes that his choice of career was an excellent one, and wouldn’t hesitate to make it again. To be appointed CPO, he says, has capped off that career wonderfully.

“I am both proud and excited to be doing this role and to be leading such a wonderful group of women and men,” CPO Lammers said.

“Over the years I have had the opportunity to look around other jurisdictions, talk with senior officers, and to take the pulse of public sentiment. What I’ve found is that the level of trust and respect held by members of our community in ACT Policing is second to none.”

Assistant Commissioner Lammers has been with the AFP for 31 years, two-thirds of which he has spent in the ACT. His most recent senior executive role was of the organisation’s Chief Information Officer, oversighting the development and security of the networks and technology which is so vital to the AFP’s capability. However, it is community policing, he says, to which he connects most strongly. He has lived in Canberra most of his life, and has a family in the late teens and 20s, of whom he is extremely proud.

He has a keen interest in camping and has travelled extensively throughout the world and to some of the most remote places Australia has to offer.

“My travel reinforces just how lucky we are to live and work in Canberra,” he said.

Assistant Commissioner Lammers believes ACT Policing’s challenges are similar to cities like Sydney and Melbourne, but on a smaller scale.

“Canberra has its share of crime, but that’s to be expected in a busy, growing city of 300,000 people which is a central services hub to a large regional community,” CPO Lammers said.

”The infrastructure, the quality of our natural environment, the national institutions, our terrific road network and high standard of living provides a great quality of life here.

“One of the benefits of a small police service like ours is that we develop very strong and trusted working relationships both internally and with the community. In times of crisis, or when the work gets busy, you are there on the frontline with people you know and trust. That is one of our great strengths.

“Overlaying ACT Policing, yet intrinsically connected to it, are the world-class services and support structures provided by AFP National. The AFP Crime Scene Investigators, for example, are excellent forensics officers, and our working relationship with them has developed over many years.”

CPO Lammers brings a high level of application and diligence to his role. Following 11 years of continuous study he completed his law degree, and was admitted to the bar in the ACT. At the same time he completed a Diploma of Policing and a Diploma of Applied Management.

By any measure, that’s a protracted study period that amply demonstrates that he never shirks a challenge.

Achieving his degree has led to common and frequent questions as to why he chose law, and whether he has ever been tempted to practise as a barrister.

“Police operate in the legal environment every day so having a reasonable knowledge of the law seemed logical,” CPO Lammers said.

“I’ve never been tempted into practicing law because I’ve always found policing incredibly rewarding. But having that legal background has been very useful from time to time.”

In taking over from former CPO Roman Quaedvlieg on 1 July, Assistant Commissioner Lammers has had a full diary of engagements and countless meetings with internal and external partners and stakeholders. He has visited every working area of ACT Policing, some several times.

His early stated objective as CPO was to build and hold the confidence of the ACT community in its police. He says that public engagement by police, by traditional front-line, walk-the-streets policing, through to the more contemporary social media connections, are methods he supports and will champion.

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