Sydney Times

CRIME AND LAW ENFORCEMENT

AFP Reserves back to help keep Australians safe

AFP Reserve Inspector Jo Brown
Written by News Aggregator

AFP Reserves back to help keep Australians safe

Former AFP members have rejoined as Reserves to help keep Australians safe.

Since the program started in April 2020, Reserves have been invaluable in providing operational support during the COVID-19 pandemic and Operation IRONSIDE, the biggest organised crime operation in the AFP’s history.

The AFP has a proud history, and former members often want to continue contributing to the community and law enforcement efforts. The AFP has more than 70 Reserves ready to be called upon as required.

It not only assists the AFP but also helps former members who want to stay connected to their former colleagues, many who are considered family.

Since its establishment, Reserves have undertaken duties such as:

  • Supporting national and ACT investigations
  • Assisting with selection, training of, and planning for police and Protection Services Officers recruits
  • Intelligence support
  • Emergency management and major events planning; and
  • Governance, policy and project work.

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Despite the challenges and uncertainty related to the pandemic, the AFP has continued to unleash maximum damage to the criminal environment.

AFP Reserve Inspector Jo Brownsaid the program had a positive impact on the AFP.

“The Reserves program has brought former members with significant knowledge and experience back into the workforce to help support and deliver key organisational priorities,’’ Inspector Brown said.

“We currently have more than 70 Reserves in the AFP Reserve pool with 29 currently placed across various Commands within the AFP.

“The program provides an opportunity for former members to re-engage with the AFP, and existing AFP appointees seeking to transition to retirement, to continue fulfilling their sense of public duty and commitment to the Australian community.”

Former Superintendent Constantine Coutsolitis, who retired in 2014 after 36 years of service, said he rejoined in May 2020 to be a part of the AFP Reserve implementation team.

“It was a great honour to have been asked to help implement the AFP Reserve program, working alongside (now retired) Assistant Commissioner Wayne Buchhorn and his team,” said Mr Coutsolitis.

“It was a very exciting time as it offered retired members an avenue of re-engaging with the AFP, breaking the adage of there is `nothing more ex than an ex police officer’.’’

Rhonda Fleming has been an AFP Reserve since September 2020 and is working with Operation PROTECT, the AFP’s primary operational response to COVID-19.

“It’s been great to be a part of such an important deliverable for the agency, we play important role in ensuring members have access to current medical advice and resources so they can continue do their jobs on the frontline,” Ms Fleming said.

“I have been able to work flexible hours to support the operation due to the nature of the operation and I absolutely love that it provides me with the perfect work/life balance.”

In 2017, after a 33 year career with the AFP, former Superintendent Ben Cartwright retired to focus on his love of sport.

“My goals were to finish an Ironman Race and to qualify for the Australian Triathlon Team. I accomplished both goals in 2019. In 2020 I was beginning to look for new adventures so I joined the AFP Reserves,” Mr Cartwright said.

“Since my return I have worked for the AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation to help organise virtual attendance of members to a world conference and more recently I have assisted the recruitment team in running the Exams for applicants applying for promotion to Sergeant.”

“This placement was especially rewarding for me, seeing many recruits who had come through the AFP College when I was there between 2008 and2012.”

In October 2020, the Government announced $11.7 million over four years to formally establish the AFP Reserves. The AFP aims to reach a pool of 200 AFP Reserves.

If you are a former AFP member wishing to enquire about the AFP Reserve, please email the team on AFP-Reserve@afp.gov.au

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