(12pm 1 March 2012, Sydney Town Hall)
Thank you, Rod. Good afternoon, everyone. I would like firstly to acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. I also acknowledge the 200 nationalities who make up our City.
I also acknowledge Her Excellency the Governor, Professor Marie Bashir, AC, CVO our host today, Commissioner Andrew Scipione, The Hon. Barry OFarrell, MP - Premier of New South Wales, The Hon. Mike Gallagher MP- Minister for Police and Parade Commander Detective Superintendent Terence Dalton APM.
This historic anniversary, marking 150 years of policing in NSW, gives us the opportunity to salute the men and women who make our police force such an outstanding organisation.
Our community can rightly have a high level of confidence in the NSW Police.
Over the last decade or so, the combination of quality leadership and commitment to building relationships with local communities has transformed policing in our City.
The regeneration of inner-city neighbourhoods such as Redfern owes a great deal to the work done by local police, both as a presence on the streets and as a part of their neighbourhood.
Under our Safe City program, we have held regular community days where police join city representatives and local residents, building bridges of trust that help create safer and more trusting neighbourhoods.
Police also play an important role, with the City and Housing NSW, in building safer communities in the extensive inner city housing estates. I am sure this work is replicated across the metropolitan area and State.
The value of this localised policing cannot be over-stated.
Policing is an often tough and dangerous job. Indeed, the old burial ground here at Town Hall included the grave of Constable Joseph Luker, the first policeman to be killed on duty in NSW.
He was murdered in August 1803, aged just 33, as he was investigating a robbery carried out at the home of a city resident.
This Sea of Blue march is an opportunity to reflect on those who, since Constable Luker, have given their lives in the course of duty. We also reflect on the many others who have been injured or otherwise traumatised in serving the people of NSW.
On a personal note, I am honoured to host this significant parade today. My grandfather, Bill Cullen, was a Sergeant at Darlinghurst. He was one of 11 children from the land in Dubbo and the only one who left. He caught the train to Central - walked to Redfern Police Academy and joined the Police force and from that day till his retirement, he didn't touch alcohol - I was in awe of him as a child but he'd be very proud of me today.
Finally today is our opportunity to thank all those police, past and present, who have helped make Sydney - and NSW - the safe and harmonious place it for the most part is.