QP Timeline 1864 - 2014.pdf


Queensland Police Force established on 1 January, 1864 with strength of 287 officers serving a population of 61,467. David Thompson Seymour appointed as Acting Commissioner and later as Commissioner.

The uniform worn by Queensland police officers after separation in 1859 was a dark blue jacket and top with a forage cap, supplied by the New South Wales police.

Transport in the settled areas is mainly by foot and the unsettled areas by horse.

The hulk Margaret Eliza is purchased for £3000. It is refitted and renamed the Proserpine. She is used as a floating water police office; prison, and later as a reformatory school.

Correspondence with the Police Commissioner or between stations was by handwritten letter, moved by horse or Cobb and Co Coach, or by telegram.

Finding that 'no written instructions had ever been issued for the guidance of the Police Commissioner Seymour issues ‘Rules for the General Government and Discipline of members of the Police Force of Queensland’ based upon the Victorian police model.

On December 1, the Detective Office is created with Sub-Inspector George Elliott in charge.


Police Commissioner David Seymour describes the lack of accommodation for police: ‘Many men are compelled to live in lodgings, and in the country districts constables live in public-houses some distance from the lock-up at times making them unavailable for sudden emergencies’.

Police Commissioner Seymour targets the crime of bushranging and takes active measures to hasten the capture of these criminals through the purchase of fresh police horses and the construction of securely fenced paddocks at every police station.

Water police are stationed on board the Hulk Proserpine at the mouth of the Brisbane River.

Revolvers have been supplied to every police station and 50 breech-loading carbines are delivered to the Department.


The ‘Bread or Blood’ riot starts threatens the sacking of Government House. Hundreds of Government officials are sworn in as Special Constables to assist police.

The first uniform consists of a Garibaldi jacket of dark blue, serge wool cloth, red facings, and shoulder knot; trousers of the same material, with red cord, and a high cap with French peak.


The first major test the Detective Office is to solve the murder of Gold Escort officers, Constables Patrick William Cahill and John Francis Power.

Police Commissioner Seymour states that ‘men at all stations are, when practicable, to be drilled once a week’.


The publication Rules for the General Government and Discipline of members of the Police Force of Queensland is approved, printed and distributed.

Each Constable requires one pair of handcuffs as part of his equipment allotment.


A police barracks is situated in George Street, Brisbane, on the site of the old convict hospital.

Changes to rank insignia are implemented which among other things mean that an Acting Sergeant is now called a Senior Constable.


General order: Chinese have as much right on diggings as Europeans, so long as they have a miners' permit. If a collision results in a riot which the police cannot quell, they are to note the ring-leaders and apprehend them.


Sub-Inspector Robert Johnstone, officer in charge of native police, accompanies explorer George Dalrymple on the north-east coast expedition to explore the coastal lands as far as Cooktown.


The bulk of the Queensland Police force moves from the city to Victoria Barracks and occupies the army buildings on site.

Three movable houses and twelve large frame-tents are built in Brisbane and shipped to the Palmer River gold-field. They are quickly erected by two Constables and can house six officers.


The Police Manual instructs Constables on beat duty to ‘possess such knowledge of the inhabitants of each house as to enable them to recognise their persons; and thus prevent mistakes, and be enabled to render assistance, when called upon, to the inhabitants’.

‘Instructions for the Guidance of the Police’ are published under which the system of competitive examination for promotion is hoped will increase police efficiency.


Roma Street Police Barracks are built and provide accommodation for about forty-five men, room for an OIC and two cells.

Navy blue helmets are introduced and prove to be a very hot choice of headwear, they are phased out in favour of white helmets in 1896.


At Birdsville, locally available cane grass is used on police station walls for its insulation properties and longevity.

Native Police camp accommodation is constructed using a variety of materials, such as saplings, logs, bark, canvas and shingles.


Sub-Inspector 1/c Alexander Douglas is sent to Herberton and with four troopers, two old gold diggers and five Chinese men; he blazes a trail from Herberton to Mourilyan. The party travels without rations and in continuous rain for twenty days, living mainly on roots.

Martini-Henry rifles are purchased to replace the Snider currently in use.


The Petrie Terrace Gaol area is taken over by the Queensland Police and known as the Petrie Terrace Police Depot for the training of prospective police officers.


Cap badges consisting of a separate district letter and number are issued and remain in use until 1906.


The first six camels arrive in Birdsville from India in poor condition and by July only four have survived. Despite these early setbacks camels were proving useful, travelling hundreds of kilometres on duties such as collecting statistical returns.


The first honour given to any Queensland police officer was a Royal Humane Society Bronze Medal awarded to Constable James O’Brien for saving the life of a nine year old boy at Ipswich.

During the Burketown cyclone on 5 March, Sergeant John Ferguson’s wife keeps a lamp burning in the window of the courthouse and her beacon draws many people to the refuge during the storm.


A Royal Commission of Enquiry into the Police Force suggests sweeping changes including that the control of the section of Water Police known as River Police is given back to the police Commissioner.

The cost of buying ordinary clothing for plain clothes work is extra burden that Detectives had to meet out of their ordinary pay.

There are eleven Detectives on the pay-roll across the state. Seven in Brisbane, two in Townsville, and one each in Normanton and Rockhampton.


Senior Sergeant Martin Breene and Constable Joseph Waters display energy and perseverance during the shearer’s strikes by following and preventing 'fire gangs' from doing damage at Lammermoor pastoral station.


During the shearer’s strike police are given sole power to 'preserve order and secure liberty to all alike'.

Acting Sergeant John Raphael Thompson is paid £10 extra to attend to photographic work which includes mug shot and crime scene photography.


On 30 June, Commissioner Seymour retires after 31 years in the job and is replaced by William Edward Parry-Okeden on 1 July. Full control of the water police finally comes under the jurisdiction of Police Commissioner.

The Roma Street police station telephone exchange is connected to fourteen sites including the Woolloongabba and South Brisbane police stations, the Commissioners house at Redhill, the Detective Office, the Police Depot and the Central Fire Brigade Station.


The bicycle, as a means of transport is introduced and a slow distribution occurs across the state. At about £13 a bicycle is more expensive than a horse.

Detectives receive no special training. Generally, 'the smartest and most intelligent' people from among the plain clothes officers in the general police are selected and expected to learn from experience.

The Pearl ferry capsizes near Victoria Bridge on the flooded Brisbane River on Valentine’s Day. After the rescue of sixty survivors, police make every effort to recover and identify the bodies of the twenty-nine victims.  

A loose tunic is adopted in place of the existing jumper for police uniform. Mounted officers performing mounted duty, wear Bedford cord breeches and black napoleon boots.


The collection housed in the ‘Police Museum’ running since 1893, is used to educate recruits about criminal methods.


On the trail of an escapee, Constable James Kenny and four indigenous troopers survive Cyclone Mahina at Bathurst Bay, by staying together after their camp blows away.

The recruit probation period is increased so that no man is sworn until three months’ drill and instruction is completed at the Police Depot.


At the turn of the century the Queensland Police Department has strength of 845 officers and 135 native trackers at 256 stations.


First-Class Constable George Pugh displays discretion and bravery in the single-handed arrest of three men for the unlawful killing of cattle at the Jundah Opal Fields, and for taking them on foot, the twenty miles to Jundah police station.

The Criminal Investigation Branch is housed in the old St John’s Cathedral synod building on the corner of Elizabeth and George Streets.


The Imperial Service Order and Medal is established by King Edward for the administration and clerical staff of the Civil Service throughout the British Empire for long and meritorious service.


In May the Bronze Medal of the Royal Humane Society is awarded to First-class Michael Becher, Inspector Percy Galbraith, Constables Charles Pinwill and William Ryan who risked their own lives to save the lives of others between 12 November 1889 and 15 January 1903.


The Fingerprint Bureau is established. During the first year of operation 578 prints are taken and 226 come from other states.


William Geoffrey Cahill becomes the third Police Commissioner on 1 April, 1905.


On 4 October Police Commissioner Cahill announces the institution of a Medal for Merit departmental award for police officers who display pre-eminent bravery on duty. The first two medals are awarded to Acting Sergeant John Hennessy and Constable Richard Runge on 12 October.

Queensland police enforce the Infant Life Protection Act of 1905 by checking the registration of births and the deaths of illegitimate children.


The Patrol is the first motorised vessel used by the Brisbane Water Police. She is capable of 8 knots.

Constable Charles Watson and a tracker follow suspected murderer J.W Patterson for 350 miles. They capture the fugitive but have very little food or water for the last 100 miles of the chase.

A new Figure of 8 style handcuff is introduced.


A very fine 78 000 acre reserve called Rewan is proclaimed as a stud farm for breeding police horses. The Woodford mares and foals as well as two purchased stallions, ‘Libertine’ and ‘Mack’ populate the reserve.

Very few police stations have a typewriter and some officers use their own to complete reports and correspondence.

The Kings Police Medal is instituted by King Edward VII on 7 July to be awarded to those officers of properly recognised police forces and fire brigades under the jurisdiction of the sovereign, who showed distinguished service and conspicuous devotion to duty, or who carry out heroic acts of courage. First awarded to Constable John Bourke on 29 August 1911.


Inspector White reports that nearly every station within a five mile radius of the centre of Brisbane is connected by telephone.

Chief Inspector Urquhart favourably mentions Constable Peter Hagarty of Finch Hatton: ‘he is an exceptional good man in a rough place among a very rough class of people. He made seventy-one arrests single handed this year and is most highly spoken of by the respectable portion of the community’.


First reference to the idea of women police is made by the National Council of Women of Queensland.


A General Strike takes hold of Brisbane. It starts as a tramway strike but gains momentum with 20000 or more people withholding their labour and brings industry to a standstill. Mass rallies see police numbers bolstered by the swearing in of 3000 Special Constables.


Police stations serve a variety of local community needs and police officers are expected to act in extraneous roles as representatives for the government.


Police Commissioner Cahill rejects the idea of employing women following an enquiry by the Acting Home Secretary.


The strength of the Force on June 30, is 1037 general police; 30 Criminal Investigation Branch officers; 11 water police officers; 99 indigenous police, 27 recruits and 89 on leave with the Commonwealth Military Forces on active service.

At 13 July, four year old Nicholas Frousheger wanders away from his home about three miles south of Charleville. The media reports that ‘the police, and a large party of civilians are trying hard to overtake him, but it is difficult owing to the stony ridges and the light imprint left by the little one’.


Frederic Charles Urquhart becomes the fourth Police Commissioner on 1 January, 1917.


On 24 March, 8000 soldiers and conservatives march on the Russian émigré headquarters at South Brisbane which leads to violent clashes between protestors and police. This uprising is known as the Red Flag Riots or Red Monday.


Bicycles, not cars, are the usual means of transportation used by police for the prevention and detection of crime. Police Commissioner Ryan establishes bicycle patrols so that plain clothes officers can keep the suburbs of Brisbane under surveillance at night time.


An explosion at Mount Mulligan Colliery entombs over seventy miners. Residents, men from a neighbouring mine assist Constable James O’Dwyer in efforts to recover deceased miners.

Patrick Short becomes the fifth Police Commissioner on 16 January, 1921.


The first thorough revision of ‘Rules for the general government and discipline of the members of the Police Force of Queensland’ is completed.


779 horses are in service, three camels are obtained for Noccundra police station and three new Harley-Davidson motorcycles with side cars are purchased.

William Harold Ryan becomes the sixth Police Commissioner on 15 January, 1925.


The first two motorised vehicles are Black Marias or prison vans, one of which utilised the body from a horse drawn prison van on the back of a Bean truck chassis.


The Criminal Investigation Branch building in Queen’s Park, is blown up by a criminal intent on destroying the evidence against him.

Retired Sergeant 2/c William Lynam recalls how he had the gruesome job of burying seventeen Ingham flood victims, men, women, and children of three Italian families ‘on the nearest patch of dry land I could find’.

Dustcoats and overalls are worn by members of the CIB when riding on motorcycles to prevent dust and oil from staining clothing.


There is only one Detective available to handle criminal investigations between Townsville and Cloncurry.


Inspector Loch describes Cecil Plains as ‘a large pastoral and farming district with large areas of thickly timbered and pear infested ground that gives stock thieves excellent opportunity to carry out their work.


The first two women police, Miss Zara Dare and Miss Eileen O’Donnell are appointed on 16 March, after Cabinet supports a submission by Irene Longman MP. They are attached to Roma Street Station in the centre of Brisbane but are not sworn-in and have no powers of arrest or uniform.


On 5 January, four-year-old Betty Doherty is taken by four meter crocodile as she plays near the Seymour River, about twelve kilometres east of Halifax. Acting Sergeant Frank Conaty and Constables George Schnitzerling, Jens Fredericksen and Arnold Still, make an extensive search but fail to find any trace of the child.


Cecil James Carroll becomes the seventh Police Commissioner on 8 May 1934.

A special squad of traffic police is organised for the control of the Brisbane traffic district.

The Battley Single Finger Print System is adopted, to reduce the period of search for a print found at the crime scene among the 470,000 impressions held.

Police Commissioner Carroll introduces the Police Cadet system to admit applicants of 18 years with a junior pass or a senior level school certificate.


The Modus Operandi Section is established by Police Commissioner Carroll as a central repository for criminal records regarding their habits or manner of working.

A Criminal Photographic Supplement is reproduced in the Queensland Police Gazette to allow quick access to the information collected by the Modus Operandi Section.

The Queensland Police Department is given control of the Firearms Act and creates the Firearms Section under Clerk Thomas Baty, to undertake the major task of licensing firearms.

Commissioner Carroll gains approval for an experimental wireless station with the call sign VKR. Three patrol cars are equipped with the new one-way, wireless communication system.

Weekly lectures are delivered by experienced officers at the Roma Street police barracks and copies of lectures are distributed to every police officer.


Newly sworn Constable Thomas Baty assumes charge of the Firearm Section.

The new brick, two storey, Fortitude Valley police station is built and officially opened on 6 July. It is described as the ‘finest, most up-to-date and most comfortable police station in Queensland’.


The Queensland Police becomes mechanised and a departmental garage run by trained mechanics, is built to service the departments growing number of motorcycles and motor vehicles.

The Firearms Section is enlarged to include forensic ballistics and a laboratory is installed, with microscopical and photomicrographical apparatus to examine bullets.

A librarian is appointed to look after the Central Police Library’s collection of 5,000 law, crime and fiction books.


The Criminal Investigation Branch consists of 48 detectives, 65 plain clothes police spread over all districts, along with 14 cadets.

The Firearm Section is expanded to encompass the scientific investigation of firearms under the area of Forensic Ballistics.


During WW2 the Police Commissioner works in co-operation with the Defence Department to provide protection of civilian lives, public buildings and communications lines.


The Kings Commendation for Brave Conduct is instituted by King George VI to acknowledge brave acts by civilians and members of the military in non-warlike circumstances during a time of war or in peacetime where the action would not otherwise be recognised by an existing award.

Legislation provides police with control over, and selection of, civilian air-raid wardens. Police officers are involved in enrolling and training wardens to receive and pass on news of raids from Defence Information Centres.

A seven month long ‘School of Instruction in Criminal Investigation Work’ course is established.

New barracks at Petrie Terrace are built to replace the old structure used since 1883 at a cost of £40,000. It provides a training centre for recruits and a home for 104 single men performing duty in central Brisbane.


The system of interchange of Detectives and the sharing of knowledge with New South Wales and Victoria police continues, with one Queensland Detective working in Sydney and the other in Melbourne.

The Kings Police Medal becomes The Kings Police and Fire Services Medal and is awarded for acts of exceptional courage and skill or who exhibit conspicuous devotion to duty. First awarded to Constable Athol Haines on 28 July 1943.

The George Medal is established by order of King George the VI on 4 September, is given for acts of great bravery. First awarded to Constable 1/c Osmond Cislowski on 11 May 1956.



The number of women in the Women Police Section increases to nine in response to the extra demands on policing during WW2.



A permanent two-way radio station, allowing two-way radio wireless communication with patrol cars, is established to replace the temporary one-way process in use since 1935.

The Women Police Section is formed with Elizabeth Boyle as Supervisor and attached to the Criminal Investigation Branch Headquarters in George Street Brisbane.

The Central Fingerprint Bureau in Sydney is created for use by all policing jurisdictions.

The Forensic Ballistics Section is renamed as the Scientific Section and now encompasses forensic chemistry, scientific photography and the examination of documents and handwriting.

The Scientific Section is examining documents and handwriting with ultra violet rays and microscopy.

The Force is staffed by 1610 sworn police and 34 trackers at 341 stations.



Inspector Noel Carseldine remarks: ‘The fact of the war having continued throughout the year has meant the performance of arduous duties by the police in this district. Several hundred aliens have been interned in the sugar areas of Ayr, Brandon, Giru, Halifax, Home Hill and Ingham’.



246 bicycles are in use across the state.

The Fingerprint Bureau, the Modus Operandi Record System, the Photographic and Scientific Sections are classified under the title: Technical Aids in the Investigation of Crime.



Detective Constable Les Bardwell takes over the Scientific Section and remains as the Officer in Charge until his retirement in 1976.

The ‘White Ghost’, a white Chevrolet Special Deluxe utility, equipped with a loud hailer, is introduced to Brisbane and Toowoomba streets as part of a road safety campaign.

New uniform consists of an open-neck tunic, airman’s blue shirt, with detachable collar, black tie, and a new type white helmet.



The Photographic Unit gains staff who have experience with drawing plans of crime scenes and road collisions.

Probationaries undergo six months of training at the Police Depot.



The ‘Queensland Police-Citizens Youth Welfare Association’ is registered under the jurisdiction of the Police Department on 20 May.



There are 100 cars in use across the state representing brands such as Ford; Buick; Chevrolet; International; G.M.C; Mercury; Hudson; De Soto; Dodge and Plymouth.

Fingerprint Expert Cecil Smith and two Queensland Detectives make history when they take hand and palm prints from almost the entire population of Ocean Island to catch a double murderer.

John Smith becomes the eight Police Commissioner on 24 July 1949.



Radio transmissions are made from Mount Coot-tha and the switch from amplitude modulated (A.M.) mobile equipment to frequency modulated (F.M.) equipment is made.

Road safety lectures are introduced into schools and kindergartens. Puppets are used to illustrate scenarios for younger children and older children are taught to cross the street and to ride a bicycle safely. 

After an inquisitive cow fell into a ditch at the rear of the Queensland Woollen Mill in Ipswich, police were called to perform a rescue operation. Using a small crane, the heavy beast was successfully winched from the ditch and suffered only shock.

There are fourteen police districts and 338 stations throughout the State at 30 June. Somerset police station is re-established and a new station is opened at Kenilworth.

The Police Force is staffed by 2030 sworn personnel, 10 women police and 30 trackers. The State population has reached one million.



The Central Communications Room opens at the CIB building in Brisbane and becomes the nerve centre of police communications through the state.



Police radio stations are operating in Brisbane, Rockhampton and Townsville.

The British Empire Medal for Meritorious Service originally established in 1922, is first awarded to Constable Noel Haupt on 17 October.

Kings Police and Fire Services Medal is split into two awards, the Queens Fire Service Medal and the Queens Police Medal for Gallantry which was first awarded posthumously to Constable 1/c Roy Doyle on 01 April 1956.

The Kings Commendation for Brave Conduct becomes the Queens Commendation for Brave Conduct. First awarded to Constable Clifford Lebsanft on 11 May 1956.



Women are permitted to join the Queensland Police Union.

The Brisbane Traffic Branch is established as an entity separate from the Brisbane Police District.

Patrick Glynn becomes the ninth Police Commissioner on 6 January 1955.



The Union’s application for equal pay fails in the Industrial Court.

On 1 May the awarding of the Police Long Service and Good Conduct Medal, originally proclaimed by King George VI in 1951, is extended to include the states of Australia by Queen Elizabeth II. The medal is awarded after twenty-two years of approved police service and 378 police officers qualify.

The state is affected by cyclonic disturbances and flood conditions resulting in widespread interruption to communications and damage to property.



208 centres are sharing 384 vehicles and 126 horses – 73 cars; 113 utilities, 37 land rovers, 6 vans; 155 motorbikes and 179 bicycles.

Thomas William Harold becomes the tenth Police Commissioner on 1 April, 1957.

Two Traffic Branch officers attend the ‘Traffic Engineering Course’ offered by the NSW University of Technology.

Police Commissioner Harold puts into operation four radio equipped prowl cars to cruise the city and suburbs through the night.


The British Empire Medal for Gallantry is established on 14 January. First awarded to Constable James Boyle on 7 August 1959.

Francis Erich Bischof becomes the eleventh Police Commissioner on January 30, 1958.

With a view to raising the morale and status of newly sworn in personnel, Police Commissioner Bischof decides to inaugurate Passing Out Parades for Probationaries. The first parade is held on 29 May with twenty-four men being sworn.

The Queensland Police Pipe Band makes its first public appearance on August 29 at a passing out parade at the Petrie Terrace Police Depot.


The Stock Investigation Squad is formed, with a Detective Sergeant and three plainclothes members.

Sub-Inspector Cecil Smith is appointed as the first Queensland Police Public Relations Officer on 6 July.  He is expected to make regular telecasts on topical police matters by way of the new technology of television.


Detective Senior Sergeant Les Bardwell, Constable Barry Short and Cadet Neil Raward are the only three Scientific officers servicing the state.

A new range of drab olive uniform and a new cap badge are introduced.


A new insignia is introduced which is an adaptation of the police badge. It bears the Latin motto Constantia ac Comitate.


The old Queensland Egg Board building, on the corner of Makerston Street and North Quay is purchased and converted into a Police Headquarters.

.38 Smith and Wesson revolvers are purchased to enable the standardisation of firearms.


The Juvenile Aid Bureau is established to guide potential youthful law breakers on the right path and prevent them from incurring a court conviction.


On June 30 the police strength equals 2760 police officers (1 police officer to 571 people)


On March 31, eight serving plainclothes women police are sworn in and given equal powers and rank as male officers.  In June the first uniformed women are sworn in following regular probationary training.

Twenty-one new Cortina sedans are purchased for traffic work.

179 cars, eight vans, eighteen motor cycles, one bus and one utility truck are fitted with two-way wireless. Twenty-three cars and three utility trucks are fitted with two-way wireless.

The first set of specially chosen police is trained for a ‘Rescue 8’ Squad to handle major incidents and disaster emergencies.

The first ever issue of attire for policewomen is a female version of the drab olive uniform.


Sergeant 2/c Colin Ward and Constable Colin Tapsall install the first police owned UHF radio linking system from Saddle Mountain near Kuranda, to the Cairns Airport.


All new CIB Detective appointees are required to attend a course of training that includes lectures by senior experienced Detectives, films and practical application.

The Company Squad is reorganised as the Fraud Squad.

On 26 June the Crime Prevention Bureau commences operation, for the purpose of providing two police officers in a full time capacity to impart security and personal safety advice to community members.

The Emergency Squad is established principally to deal with the apprehension of armed offenders.

A World War II sea-mine washes up onto the beach at Surfers Paradise, shocking those enjoying the sun, sand and surf.  The device is successfully deactivated and removed by the Royal Australian Navy with the help of Gold Coast police.


Printing of Volume 1 of the new ‘Queensland Policeman’s Manual’ is completed and preparation of Volume 2 is well advanced.

Probationaries receive training in the use of Breath Testing Devices (Alcotest) and Breath Analysing Instruments (Breathalyser).

Norwin William Bauer becomes the twelfth Police Commissioner on 14 February, 1969.


The number of policewomen equals twenty-seven. Postings extend outside central Brisbane and to provincial centres.

The Union achieves equal pay for women with the support of Police Commissioner Whitrod.

The position of Assistant Commissioner (Crime) is established.

The Queensland Police College at Chelmer commences operation on 27 January as an ‘in-service training centre’.

All newly sworn Constables are sent, over a period of twelve months, to different metropolitan police stations for on-the-job training.

Raymond Wells Whitrod becomes the thirteenth Police Commissioner on 1 September, 1970.


Police and protestors clash over the South African Springbok football team’s tour of Queensland.

The minimum height for women joining is set at 162.5cm and the bar on married women joining up is removed.

Consideration is given to the use of computers for police purposes.

The Public Order Squad is formed with approximately 100 members, who provide staff for duty in connection with street demonstrations and similar disturbances.

A new cadet training scheme is introduced. The three year structure, combines senior examination subjects and special police courses.

The Police Driver Training Wing is established and courses commence on 1 March.

Stage 1 of the Queensland Police Academy at Oxley opens in January and the first 150 cadets are admitted.

Uniform colour changes from drab olive back to blue. Policewomen wear a black skirt, white shirt with black tie and bowler style cap.


The Queensland Police Academy officially opens at Oxley on 24 March.


A Crime Intelligence course for Detectives commences at the Chelmer Police College.


Two days after Cyclone Tracey devastates Darwin in the Northern Territory, twelve Queensland police officers arrive to lend a hand.

A Scenes of Crime Training Unit is opened at the Oxley Police Academy and a Scenes of Crime Unit becomes operational.

First female Detective is appointed.


The Police Air Wing is established with the purchase of two Cessna 180E aircraft. Four police officers and qualified pilots are attached to the Wing.

The Rape Squad, comprising seven female Constables, commences working from within the Information Bureau.

The quota system for the recruitment of women is removed and integration is adopted in deployment. Police Commissioner Whitrod’s open door policy results in an influx of women.

Final year Cadets and Probationaries receive twenty-three training periods in crowd control, prisoner control and crisis situation handling.

The Star of Courage the second highest Australian bravery decoration is established in the Australian honours system in February. It is awarded for acts of conspicuous courage in circumstances of great peril. Only four have been awarded to Queensland police officers, the first to Constable Rodney Edward on 16 March 1988.

A new system of identification numbers and rank boards with metal chevrons are introduced for all ranks.


The number of Queensland policewomen equals 308.

All police centres across the state have access to a motor vehicle.

The Electronic Data Processing Unit is reorganised into the Planning and Research Branch and begins developing computer programs to make information available on criminal statistics, stolen vehicles, staff deployment, and vehicles of interest.

Forbes House, in Makerston Street is purchased and converted into Police Headquarters and officially opens 7 March.

Terence Murray Lewis becomes the fourteenth Police Commissioner on 29 November, 1976.


Three new police vessels are commissioned: D.G. Gordon; G.J. Olive and Lyle M. Hoey.

The first step is taken in the automation of the colour printing process for the Photographic Section.

Experienced journalist Ian Hatcher is appointed as the first Police Press Officer on 29 August. His responsibilities are to liaise with media and to publicise the work and improve the public image of the Force throughout the State.

In January, Police pilot Sergeant 2/c Ron Rooke successfully carries out flood relief operations in the Camooweal, Burketown, Hamilton, Boulia and Doomadgee areas by dropping several hundred kilograms of food to stranded motorists.


The recruitment of female cadets is stopped but the quota for the recruitment of female adult probationers is revived.

A computer systems training officer is appointed to train police officers in the correct use and operation of computer equipment for practical police work.


To give the public and the police an appreciation of the history of the Police Force, the Police Museum is fully open to the public on 17 May.

On 12 March the Bomb Squad is reorganised as a two man Arson-Bomb Squad and its activities are expanded.

An armed man hijacks a commercial aircraft between Coolangatta and Brisbane and holds air crew and passengers hostage at Eagle Farm Airport. Emergency Squad personnel are deployed while a police negotiator secures the release of the hostages.

Epaulette boards give way to shoulder patches and stripes of rank on the sleeves of new uniform. The Latin motto adopted on the shoulder patches is ‘Constantia Ac Comitate’.


A new computerised message-switching system is introduced, with terminals installed in the metropolitan area and some district headquarters.

Traffic branch motorcyclists are issued with blue leather caps which are worn instead of helmets while off their bikes and directing traffic.


The Rescue Squad is created within the Task Force in Brisbane. Members are trained in all types of rescue situations so that they can assist in bringing aid to people beset by accidents or disasters.


A new American Style highway patrol is formed to operate on country highways in an effort to cut down the road toll. The patrol fleet is equipped with 53 V8 Falcons with long range radios, as well as 84 Yamaha four cylinder 1100cc road motorcycles.


The first Blood Splash Pattern Evaluation Course is held.

The Explosive Ordinance Reconnaissance Team is established which takes the responsibility for bomb response from the Arson and Bomb Squad.

The Latin motto on shoulder patches is translated into English as ‘Firmness With Courtesy’.


The Police Department's own computer system comes online and ends the shared arrangements with other government departments.

The Safety House program commences and provides a safe place for children in the event they feel threatened.

Rain and mud hamper police attempts to remove protestors trying to prevent the construction of the Cape Tribulation to Bloomfield Road.

Queensland motorcycle police gain the Guinness Book of Records, world record for the number of riders on a motorcycle, when thirty-five police officers balance on a motorbike at Surfers Paradise Raceway on June 22.


The Queensland police computer links to the Main Roads Department and the New South Wales police computer to increase access to information such as national stolen vehicles files.

Adopt–a–Cop is introduced at Northgate State School, with Constable Michael Volk from Nundah Police Station eager to attend the school during lunch times to provide advice on road safety, bike safety and stranger danger.

Long batons are purchased for use by members of Brisbane Mobile Patrols and the Brisbane Traffic Branch.


Queensland Police are officially linked to a central Finger-print Bureau in Sydney, which gives computer access to millions of prints throughout Australia and overseas.

The Department operates 1,092 vehicles.

There are 309 computer terminals in 121 locations. Training in computers is offered to Cadets and Probationaries at the Police Academy.


Under Police Commissioner Lewis the advancement of women is curtailed in most areas. The number of female sworn officers drops from over 8 per cent to 5 per cent.

On 27 July the Fitzgerald Enquiry opens. It is a much needed, but painful organisational reform for the Queensland Police. Over the two years of the enquiry there are 238 hearings and 339 witnesses are called to give evidence.

Ronald James Redmond becomes the Acting Police Commissioner on 21 September, 1987.

The Transport, Radio and Electronics Sections, Brisbane Mobile Patrols, and Traffic Accident Investigation Squad relocate to Alderley from the Petrie Terrace Police Depot.


The Neighbourhood Watch Unit commences operation on 22 February after a successful pilot program conducted on the Gold Coast. The program aims to reduce preventable crimes, improve personal and household security, reduce fear of crime, and provide support for victims of crime.



Crime Stoppers is established. Its role is to gather information from the community that will lead to offenders being caught and prosecuted.

The first official video recording of a crime scene is conducted by the Photographic Section.

Noel Newnham becomes sixteenth Police Commissioner on 1 November, 1989.


Fitzgerald Enquiry recommendations augment the change from the Queensland Police Force to Queensland Police Service. A new badge is designed and the motto ‘With Honour We Serve’ is approved.

The first five female Inspectors are appointed.

In May the Task Force is created in response to Fitzgerald Report recommendations. Its role is to support all regional commands through intelligence and co-ordination of crime operations.

COMFIT, the electronic composition of faces from witness descriptions is developed by the Photographic Section.

The Fingerprint Bureau, Photographic and Scientific Sections move to the 4th floor of the new headquarters building under the umbrella of the Forensic Services Branch.

The new Police Communications Centre benefits from a two-million-dollar ESCORT Computer Aided Dispatch system that feeds instant information to mobile vehicles and foot patrols.

The Queensland Police Service Valour Award is introduced to recognise police officers who perform acts of exceptional bravery in hazardous circumstances. First awarded in 1990 to Constables Kyle Bates, Edward Bennet, Neil Paulsen and Senior Constable Brendan Carew for a sea rescue.

The Commissioner’s Lantern Award is initiated to recognise and promote community-based policing. The inaugural 1991 winner is the Youth Assistance Panel project based in Townsville, joint initiative targeting petty juvenile offenders to provide a last chance before invoking the court system.

The first custom built police headquarters is constructed on the block bounded by Makerston, Roma and Garrick Streets.

New police badge, logo and the motto ‘With Honour We Serve’ are adopted.

In September the Computer Aided Despatch system is introduced which promises to improve the information available to, and increase the efficiency of, despatching police vehicles to incidents.


The Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act reinforces merit-based criteria in employment and the number of female recruits stabilises around thirty-three per cent.

The Bureau of Criminal Intelligence develops and puts into operation the Queensland Intelligence Database with the ability to link nine different data categories.

The Police Overseas Service Medal is established on 25 April to acknowledge the overseas peace-keeping role of police officers. The medal is awarded with a clasp which details the area of service.


The first female Chief Superintendent and Superintendent are appointed.

The Queensland Equal Opportunity in Public Employment Act gives legislative support to initiatives to improve the position of women. These include flexible work options, anti-harassment strategies and mentor support.

The Scientific Section relocates to the Roma Street Police Headquarters with more than 30 staff, many of whom specialise in a very select field of forensic identification.

Electronic Recording Section becomes part of Forensic Services Branch

The first Police Beat Shopfront is trialled at Rockhampton’s K-Mart Plaza and becomes a permanent establishment in August. This initiative is designed to provide an effective policing presence in shopping centres and to improve communication with the community.

The Special Emergency Response Team is established to respond to emergency situations and to provide operational police with specialist support.

An Executive Development Program commences to provide skills in strategic planning, policy development, resource management, and command and control to officers moving to commissioned rank.

James Patrick O’Sullivan becomes the seventeenth Police Commissioner on 1 November, 1992.


The offender identification computer system called Com-Fit is developed.

The Task Force becomes the State Crime Operations Command with a primary function to generate intelligence about organised and major crime; and to support regional police during major criminal investigations.


The Public Safety Response Team is established as a fulltime unit with a staff of forty-five.

On 24 October twelve passengers on a Wide Bay Tours bus, die when it crashes on the Gateway Motorway. Police, ambulance, fire and emergency service workers, work together to assist the injured after the accident.

The Police Recruit Operational and Vocational Education (PROVE) program is introduced to allow recruit curricula to be run on a wholly in-Service basis.

Between 1994 and 1996 the Academy is renamed as the Queensland Police and Emergency Services Academy in acknowledgement of the continuing training initiative between the Queensland Police and Queensland Emergency Services.

In May, a new $3.3 million police complex, consisting of police station and watchhouse, is officially opened on Mornington Island. It is one of only four cyclone resistant buildings on the island and can be used as a cyclone shelter if required.


In response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, the concept of Police Liaison Officers is initiated on Thursday Island and later trialled in Townsville. 


The North Queensland Campus of the Police Academy is established in Townsville to encourage recruitment in central and northern Queensland.

The North Queensland Police Service Academy in Townsville opens its doors for recruit training on 14 October.


The Violent Crime Analysis Unit is established to analyse victimology, modus operandi, offender information, forensic data and behavioural patterns.

The Volunteers in Policing trial program is initiated in September. VIP duties at police stations include victim support, witness support, customer service, school support and community liaison.


Bicycles patrols are re-introduced to Brisbane after a successful trial.

The Interactive Crime Scene Recording System is developed by the Photographic Section.

The LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) speed detection laser speed gun is introduced.

A range of new equipment is introduced which includes extendable batons; hinged handcuffs and Glock firearms.


Women make up 17.36 per cent of sworn personnel. The number of female sworn officers increases steadily by approximately one per cent per year.

The Queensland Police Service Medal is introduced on 1 January, to recognise the diligent and ethical service by members of the Queensland Police Service.

The Queensland Government transfers the community police function from Community Councils at Woorabinda, Yarrabah and on Badu Island, to the Queensland Police as a 12 month pilot. These officers are to known as Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Police (QATSIP).


Kathleen Rynders is the first policewoman to achieve the rank of Assistant Commissioner and in 2008 becomes the first woman to rise to the rank of Deputy Commissioner.

All manual fingerprints filing systems are replaced by the National Automated Fingerprint Identification System allowing all states to share fingerprint information.

The DNA Implementation Unit is established to facilitate the introduction of new legislation allowing the QPS to use DNA as a forensic investigative tool.

The Crime Prevention Personal Safety Team develops a larger than life wooden figure named ‘Duncan’ to assist in teaching children to pay attention to their gut feelings when they feel in danger.

Robert Atkinson becomes the eighteenth Police Commissioner on 1 November 2000.


In March, 2002 co-ordination and security for Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting involves the largest security operation ever staged by the Queensland Police.

A dedicated Cold Case team is established within the Homicide Investigation Group.

In March co-ordination and security for Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting is managed by the Queensland Police Service. More than 4,000 police and staff members take part in the security operation.


Constable Mokhtiar Singh creates history as the first Sikh to be sworn in as a Queensland police officer. His uniform includes an adaptation of the traditional Indian turban in recognition of his cultural heritage and religious beliefs.

Thirteen Queensland Disaster Victim Identification Squad officers are deployed to Bali, as part of an Australian contingent, to assist Indonesian Government following the terrorist attack.

The Oxley Police Academy delivers a Justice Entry Program targeted at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.


QLD begins the sharing and searching of DNA person and crime scene samples at a national level on the newly operating National Criminal Investigative DNA Database (NCIDD).


In February the Service opens a Police Dog Development Complex. It’s hoped that this dog breeding facility will overcome a general lack of trainable dogs.

Bright red, two door Monaro Highway patrol cars are introduced.

As at 30 June there are 9310 police officers and 3153 support staff.

The ‘Forensic Register’ is fully deployed for remote data entry to provide a ‘paperless’ case file solution at a scene of crime. All forensic film based cameras are replaced with digital SLR cameras to record crime scenes. 

Three new Queensland police awards are established: the Commissioners Commendation for Bravery, Commissioners Certificate for Notable Action and Commissioners Award for Meritorious or Special Service.

The Commissioners Commendation for Bravery is first awarded to Senior Sergeant Mathew Rosevear, Sergeants Robert Duncan and Richard Downie; Constables Glen Lamont, Kim Adamson and John Lima.

The eligibility criteria for the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal originally established in 1999, are amended to enable recognition of humanitarian service provided in response to national disasters overseas. First awarded to Senior Sergeants Kenneth Rach and Scott McLaren for their disaster victim identification work after the Thailand tsunami.

Queensland police, Cardwell Lions Club and Cardwell Coast Guard go into partnership to provide free EPIRBs to departing bush walkers on the Thorsborne Trail on Hinchinbrook Island and Herbert River Gorge walk. The project aims to help rescuers find lost or injured hikers more quickly.


QPRIME a major new policing information system is launched. The system is used to record and manage all reportable police incidents. It allows easier access to information, less time is spent searching for information in different systems and reduces manual and paper-based processes.

The Live-scan fingerprint scanning system is successfully rolled out across the state. These units are connected to the Crimtrac National Automated Fingerprint Identification System in Canberra.


The Photographic Section goes digital and acquires a digital mini-lab which means that photos taken at any Queensland crime scene are processed and printed almost immediately.


Operation Achilles concludes after more than 2 years of investigation resulting in the simultaneous execution of warrants across the world and the arrests of child sex offenders in Australia, the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom.

The publication of district-based Neighbourhood Watch Crime Bulletins is launched in Cairns in October. Crime Bulletins provide information to the community to assist in clearing offences, and to provide details about crime prevention initiatives.


The eligibility criterion of the Queensland Police Service Medal is changed and is made available to living former members who served prior to the introduction of the medal in 1999.

Newly designed patches and epaulettes are introduced. Epaulettes for the ranks of Senior Sergeant and below, now incorporate the words ‘Queensland Police’.


Policelink is established to provide an alternative point of contact for reporting non-urgent crimes or incidents and for general police enquiries. A new national non-urgent police number is introduced.

The National Police Service Medal is established on 9 November and recognises the special status that sworn police officers have because of their role protecting the community and represents a police officer’s past and future commitment to give ethical and diligent service. A minimum of 15 years’ service is required to qualify for the medal.

Communications Room Operator Andrew Heinrich, takes a call at the Ipswich Police Communications Centre around 9pm on September 25 and remains calm and in control as he gives the mother CPR instructions to resuscitate her unconscious baby girl.

The Fortitude Valley police station redevelopment project comprises two stages, the construction of a two-level ‘operational’ building and the refurbished of the existing 1936 building.


Eight years after thirteen year old Daniel Morcombe is abducted from a Sunshine Coast road, an extensive police investigation locates and charges his killer with murder.

The use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology is launched state-wide.  The initial launch consists of one unit being located at the State Traffic Support Branch for use in state wide traffic operations involving both specialist and local police.

The floods of 2011 initiate the first use of Facebook and Twitter by the QPS Media and Public Affairs Branch to forge a direct link with the community by using social media to relentlessly issue accurate information and to fight rumours. 

Unprecedented floods affects much of Queensland and police are involved in all manner of support, including victim identification, missing persons coordination, anti-looting patrol and countless rescues in all manner of vehicles and vessels. 


The introduction and implementation of the Automatic Number Plate Recognition project delivers significant improvement and efficiencies in frontline traffic operations.

The new ‘Police Recruit Pathway’ selects applicants based on physical health and fitness, personal integrity, cognitive ability and literacy, psychological suitability, life and work experience and practical policing skills.

Ian Duncan Hunter Stewart becomes the nineteenth Police Commissioner on 1 November 2012 as is still serving in 2014.


A new recruit program commences in January that increasingly expects recruits to perform realistic policing roles.

On March 3 an armed gunman brings business in the Queen Street Mall to a halt. The situation is brought under control by the swift action of operational police and the Special Emergency Response Team.

The Fatal 5 campaign on HSV Holdens, is launched which adds “inattention” to ‘speed’, ‘seat belts’, ‘drink driving’ and ‘driving tired’ as the main causes of traffic crashes. The campaign is designed to catch the attention of road users and prompt them to be more careful on the roads.

Under the Queensland Police Renewal Program the newly named State Crime Command includes the Child Safety and Sexual Crime Group, Drug and Serious Crime Group, Fraud and Cyber Crime Group and the Homicide Group.

The strength of the Queensland Police Service at 30 June is 11,055 police officers, 371 police recruits and 3705 staff members.

On July 1, a new structure is approved and which means the reduction of Regions from eight to five and Districts from thirty to fifteen.

Women make up more than twenty-five per cent of sworn personnel and serve in many varied roles across the state.

The most northerly police station is on Thursday Island, the most southerly police station is at Hungerford, the most westerly station is at Camooweal and the most easterly police station is at Coolangatta.

On 1 July the Forensic Services Group forms as a result of the QPS review. It consists of more than 550 staff and encompasses all district scenes of crime units, the Fingerprint Bureau, the Forensic Intelligence Unit, and the DNA management, Photographic and Electronic Recording and Scientific sections.  The FSG processes in excess 150,000 requests for service and positively identifies or links several thousand suspects to their crime each year.

The mobile data pilot for smartphones and tablets is rolled in October as part of the move to provide the technology required by police to keep the community safe.

At the Queensland Police Excellence Awards, Southern Region wins the Gold Lantern Award for Excellence in Problem-Oriented and Partnership for their ‘Stay on Track Outback’ initiative which aims to enhance road safety on the rural and remote highways of outback Queensland.

New uniform material is approved which is lighter in weight and more breathable. The cloth is treated with a flash dry and incorporates a percentage of stretch for comfort and ease.

There are more than 450 police establishments spread across the state.


Queensland Police celebrate their 150th anniversary