Welcome to ACWAP

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The Australasian Council of Women and Policing Inc is working to improve policing for women

It was established in August 1997 and is a growing group of women and men within police services, law enforcement agencies and the community who are working together to:

• improve the policing services provided to women;

                            • improve opportunities and outcomes for women within policing;

          • participate in the global network of women in policing.

We invite you to join the Australasian Council of Women and Policing.


23rd Annual ACWAP Awards Nominations

Nominations for the 23rd Annual ACWAP Excellence in Policing Awards are now open. Please see the dates below:

Nominations Open – 23 May 2022 – Nominations Close – 18 July  2022

To find out the awards that can be nominated form, please visit the Awards page here

ACWAP Professional Development Seminar and Awards Sydney


ACWAP is honoured to be co-hosting this year’s Professional Development Day and 23rd Excellence in Policing Awards with NSWPF, AFP and ABF.

To purchase tickets, please click here.


Well, What a night! Last night the 22nd Annual ACWAP Excellence in Policing Awards were celebrated at host events across Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific. Congratulations to all those nominated by their peers for all the outstanding work being done across Australasia and the Pacific.

The following Awards were presented:

The Audrey Fagan Memorial Award, sponsored by the Australian Federal Police, honours the memory of Assistant Commissioner Audrey Fagan APM who was the ACT’s Chief Police Officer at the time of her death on the 20 April 2007. The Audrey Fagan Memorial Award recognises outstanding women who have shown exceptional qualities as a mentor, role model and leader of men and women in policing and law enforcement and is chosen by a selection panel from the nominees across all Award categories.  This year the Award was presented to Teressa (Karen) Poutai- Struginski with the New Zealand Police.  Karen is the driving force behind the police Youth Development Program (YDP) which was established to work intensively with families of young people who are offending or at risk of offending.  The purpose is to support families and communities of the program’s clients to reduce risk factors most associated with offending and enhance those protective factors that reduce its likelihood.  the program provides positive mentoring, motivation and encouragement for high needs ‘at-risk’ youth. Karen builds a connectedness and purpose, along with a sense of belonging to enable them to embrace a life free from crime and associated behaviours.  Karen is incredible at breaking down barriers between the police and communities, building a foundation of trust, going above and beyond and working tirelessly over many years to improve outcomes for all women she works with.


The Bev Lawson Memorial Award sponsored by FC Lawyers is the Council’s most prestigious award and recognises the most outstanding woman who has been first in any policing or law enforcement activity or support service.  The Award is in honour of the ground-breaking achievements of Bev Lawson, who as a former Deputy Commissioner of the New South Wales Police Force was Australia’s most senior woman in policing until her untimely death in 1998.  This year the Award was presented to Sandra Venables with the New Zealand Police.  Her ability to influence and enable others was evident from the outset, graduating from the Royal New Zealand Police College with the Commissioner’s Award for Leadership. In 2014 Sandy was appointed Eastern District Commander, the first woman to hold the role.  In 2017 Sandy once again made history when she became the first woman to be appointed Assistant Commissioner, the highest-ranking constabulary woman ever in New Zealand Police at that time.  With a special and deep commitment to supporting Māori, Pacific and ethnic women to thrive in police. She is an innovator, proactively identifying opportunities for women to develop their skills and abilities, particularly in leadership. She enables women to support one another by creating a culture of trust, mutual respect, and inclusion. We are all, unquestionably, better off for her courageous and selfless leadership.

Katherine Taylor with the New Zealand Police was recognised with a Highly Commended Award in this category.


The Champion of Change Award is sponsored by Tait Communications. This award acknowledges men’s individual and/or collective influence and commitment to improving policing for women. It also acknowledges the importance of men’s role in increasing women’s representation in leadership within policing and how policing is delivered to women in the community.  Areas of particular focus are how the Champion has achieved a real change in workplace culture and mindset and empowered both women and men within law enforcement to advance gender equality and improve policing for women.  This year the award was presented to Fuiavaili’ili Egon Keil, the former Commissioner of Samoa Police, Prisons and Correctional Services.  Former Commissioner Keil is a leader who has driven cultural change with dedication and resilience to enable the Samoa Police, Prisons and Correctional Services to become a standard bearer for gender equality and empowerment of women in leadership across Australasia. Since his appointment in 2015, Former Commissioner Keil has tackled entrenched gender discrimination and has actively promoted women into senior leadership roles, and through all operational divisions. His drive for gender equality is reflected in recruitment, with sworn female officers increasing by 40% and in the Senior Executive Service where women represent 70%. He has also enacted policies designed to change the day-to-day culture within the force, creating an equitable and safe workplace allowing women to succeed.

Michael Fitzgerald with the New South Wales Police Force and Ben Martain with the Queensland Police Service were recognised with Highly Commended Awards in this category.


The Integrity and Courage Award is sponsored by QBank and acknowledges the courage required to make the community and law enforcement better for everyone.  Whilst we are unable to publicly share the details of this winner you can be assured that this person is an outstanding exemplar of everything this award stands for and is a worthy winner

Kate Maxwell with the Queensland Police Service was recognised with a Highly Commended Award in this category.


The Most Outstanding Female Leader Award is sponsored by Australian Institute of Police Management and is awarded to a member who demonstrates dynamic and innovative leadership, mentored and guided others and contributed significantly to their field.  This year the award was presented to Melanie Aitken with the New Zealand Police.  During her 22-year policing career, Mel has proven her exceptional ability to lead in a number of influential positions nationwide. A leader in change management, she is truly dedicated to improving the safety and wellness of people.  Since 2018, Mel has led the redesign of New Zealand Police’s approach to health and safety services, creating the Safer People workgroup and associated structure, with a continued and evident cultural shift in how health and wellbeing is now seen.  In her role overseeing the health and wellness response to events of national significance including the Whakaari/White Island eruption, Pike River mine disaster, Operation Wheaton (death of police officer on duty), Operation Deans (Christchurch terrorist event) and the ongoing response to COVID-19 she has displayed her commitment to achieving organisational goals and leading people in a way that supports, enables and gives them confidence to perform at their full potential.

Jennifer Hurst with the Australian Federal Police was recognised with a Highly Commended Award in this category.


The Most Outstanding Female Investigator Award is sponsored by Queensland Police Union of Employees and this year the award was presented to Kylie Bell with the Western Australia Police Force.  Kylie demonstrated persistence, integrity, and outstanding investigative talents by successfully investigating a series of legally complex sexual assaults whilst providing exceptional support to the victims involved.  Kylie has worked as a Detective in the Child Abuse Unit, State Crime Squads and across Regional Western Australia. She has a passion for investigating child abuse crimes and is widely acknowledged by her -supervisors and peers for providing guidance and leadership to junior officers. This includes developing probationary Detectives and uniformed staff on their chosen career path.  Kylie is also an accomplished ultra-marathon runner having competed in numerous high-profile international events.  Kylie has a proven track record of mental endurance which is displayed in her policing career.  Coupling this with her exceptional physical endurance she has also applied this attribute to raise funds to support victims of crime, child abuse and neglect.

Naomi Maidment with the South Australia Police and Amy Scott with the New South Wales Police Force were recognised with Highly Commended Awards in this category.


The Most Outstanding Female Administrator Award was awarded to Marina Simoncini with the Australian Federal Police.  Marina’s work has made positive impacts to the lives of Australian women and children through her leadership in driving awareness and fundraising for the White Ribbon Association in Australian Capital Territory Policing, community and stakeholder engagement across Australian policing jurisdictions in Missing Persons and Exploited Children, and her contributions to, and leadership of the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation. Marina has spent over a decade developing, implementing and leading large-scale projects to support law enforcement. Marina joined the Australian Federal Police in 2007 to lead campaigns for the then newly established National Missing Persons Coordination Centre. It was after the wrongful detainment of Cornelia Rau and Vivian Alvarez, her role quickly evolved, establishing the centre, as well as working closely with the families of long-term missing persons and a variety of stakeholders, including the Daniel Morcombe Foundation.

Leonie Smiley with the New Zealand Police was recognised with a Highly Commended Award in this category.


The Most Outstanding Female Practitioner Award is sponsored by Police Association of New South Wales and this year was awarded to Kim Crimmins with the Australian Federal Police.  Throughout her career Kim consistently demonstrates her strong commitment to working with victims of crime both domestically and internationally and ensuring that victims are provided with the support and relevant information to assist them to navigate our complex criminal justice and coronial process.  Within this role she guides, leads and mentors police in an operational space to undertake this role more effectively.  She remains focused on ensuring victims are treated with compassion, dignity and respect. Kim provides outstanding mentoring, support, positivity, and guidance to members of the Australian Federal Police Family Investigative Liaison Officer network in supporting victims and families who have suffered harm and/or lost loved ones offshore, always demonstrating integrity and resilience.

Raquel Vogel with the Victoria Police was recognised with a Highly Commended Award in this category.


The Most Outstanding Female Intelligence Practitioner Award is sponsored by the Australian Institute of Professional Intelligence Officers and this year was awarded to Bianca Handyside with the Victoria Police.  Bianca has been a senior intelligence analyst, with Victoria Police since 2012. She is highly respected by her peers and is a proven mentor of both peers and less experienced analysts. She is a subject matter expert in counter terrorism and sits on a number of national level counter terrorism committees as a Victoria Police representative. She identified that within the counter terrorism space little focus was put on the of role females in violent Islamist extremism.  As a Churchill fellow she conducted extensive research on this topic that has led to learnings for law enforcement that have been shared with local and international partners. In doing this important work on a previously ignored subject she has boosted the profile of Australian police female intelligence analysts globally, whilst bringing focus onto the gender issues inherent in terrorism.

Danielle Gardiner with the Australian Federal Police and Kyah Hester with the New South Wales Police Force were recognised with Highly Commended Awards in this category.


The Excellence in Law Enforcement for Women Initiative Award is sponsored by TripleZero Property Group and this year was awarded to Project SKYWARP, a collaboration between the Australian Federal Police and Anti-Slavery Australia, with the support of Sydney Airport.  Project SKYWARP is an Australian Federal Police -led airport-based initiative to raise awareness and prevent the trafficking exit of children and women in Australia. Through successful multi sector coordination with other Australian and international government agencies and partnering with expertise at the University of Technology Sydney and Anti-Slavery Australia, Project SKYWARP has delivered an anti-slavery message to a substantial audience at Sydney’s Kingsford-Smith airport and demonstrated to domestic, regional and international audiences Australia’s commitment to prevent the trafficking of women and girls.  Project SKYWARP is a world leading proactive airport-based initiative to identify, prevent, deter and disrupt trafficking of women and girls facing forced marriage utilising a multi-sector approach.

Te Wānanga Mana Wahine with the New Zealand Police was recognised with a Highly Commended Award in this category.


The Excellence in Law Enforcement in the Asia Pacific Region Award is sponsored by the Pacific Faculty of Policing and this year was awarded to Eileen (Rose) Nala with the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force. Rose is a dedicated and compassionate leader and a tenacious investigator. This tenacity and dedication is mirrored by her team of predominantly female detectives. Due to her leadership, guidance and mentoring, her team tirelessly and consistently achieve results in the field of sexual assault investigations, often with extremely limited resources. Rose’s Sexual Assault Team has the highest arrest and conviction rate in the National Criminal Investigations portfolio. Making the Solomon Islands a safer place for women and children is her highest priority.  Rose is a most dedicated and professional police officer, who consistently provides the highest standard of leadership, and is a source of inspiration for women in the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force, she always leads by example.

Ruth Tusela with the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary was recognised with a Highly Commended Award in this category.


The Excellence in Research on Improving Law Enforcement for Women Award is sponsored by Queensland Police Service and this year was awarded to Kate Linklater with the New South Wales Police Force.  In completing her Doctoral Thesis, Kate has developed the theory of “Inclusion Capital” – the currency by which members of police agencies gain, maintain and lose inclusion – setting an informed knowledge base for policy frameworks to increase diversity and inclusion in policing agencies, including for female police.  Kate has been a police officer since 1999. She completed her PhD in 2019 and has worked with the Police Association of New South Wales since 2018, and the Western Sydney University since 2010. She has personally experienced and studied various issues affecting female police officers across her career, including balancing work and having children.  Kate was selected as an Emerging Scholar for the 2020 International Conference on Diversity in Organisations, Communities and Nations, where her work was also presented.

The Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation with the Australian Federal Police was recognised with a Highly Commended Award in this category.


The Griffith University Women in Policing Scholarship was awarded to Katelyn Pomroy with the Australian Federal Police.  As a general duties officer Katelyn interacts with a wide range of people in the community every day and investigates a range of different crime types. Her studies provide her with a broad view of different aspects of crime, including victims, offenders, crime trends and new approaches to punishment and rehabilitation. Katelyn is particularly interested in undertaking subjects relating to young people and crime, and restorative justice practices, as she regularly encounters young people in her role. Katelyn’s goal is to be better informed as a general duties officer by incorporating knowledge she acquires whilst studying at university, enabling her to recognise opportunities for diversion when interacting with young people.


Congratulations one and all!!

I wish everyone a safe and merry Christmas time.

Deborah Platz APM

Assistant Commissioner, Australian Federal Police

President, Australasian Council of Women and Policing


To view Editions 41 and 42 of The Journal for Women and Policing please click on the images below: