5th May 2019

Commonwealth Police:

King’s crown : button dates 1925-1952
The King’s Crown indicates pre-1953, but the most recent Commonwealth Police were from 1957. Presumably these were from the original 1917-1919 force, although they were described in Wikipedia as a ‘plain clothed’ force.

I am revisiting these buttons that have been shared as I had not checked out the history on the Commonwealth Police which is quite fascinating!

Post Federation initially there was no Commonwealth policing agency. In 1917 the pro-Conscription Prime Minister, Billy Hughes, became so fed up and distrusting of the state of Queensland (led by anti-conscription Premier T. J. Ryan) that he created a plain-clothed Commonwealth Police Force to ensure that Commonwealth law was adhered to in that “rogue” state and to report on “subversive” activities (i.e. those of groups that disagreed with his views!)

This force was disbanded post WW1. A new agency was formed from officers of this force as well as from military intelligence: the Commonwealth Investigations Branch (CIB). This in turn was merged post WW2 with the Commonwealth Security Service to become the Commonwealth Investigation Service(CIS)  The Commonwealth Peace Officer Guard (POG), established in 1925 to provide physical security at government locations across the nation, came under administration of the CIS. Are you keeping up?

In 1949, at the insistence of British and US authorities, the Australian Government established the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) to perform counter-espionage. Was the CIS doing such a poor job of this to make our Allies frustrated?

In 1957 the POG and CIS were merged into the Commonwealth Police. They now investigate crimes such as damage and theft from Commonwealth properties and money laundering. They assist state and overseas police, protect politicians and administer policing on Norfolk and Christmas Islands. In 1979 the regional ACT police were merged with it to form the current Australian Federal Police. Whew!


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