ACT Chapter Plenary

ACT Chapter Plenary

ACT Chapter Plenary Session: 21st March 2024 at 6pm.  Location: Canberra Institute of Technology Restaurant.  Level 1, K Block, 37 Constitution Ave, Reid ACT 2615

Title: From Bushfires to Boards of Inquiry – Reflections on Tenure as Chief Police Officer of the Australian Capital Territory 

Speaker: Deputy Commissioner Neil Gaughan APM, Chief Police Officer for the ACT

Abstract:  In his address, Deputy Commissioner Gaughan will reflect on his tenure as Chief Police Officer, from arriving at the end of our worst bushfire season in recent years, to managing COVID, significant legislative changes in Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility and the Drugs of Dependence Act and the Brittney Higgins Board of Inquiry. He will also touch on the challenges faced with Staffing and Accommodation as well as the challenges presented by Family Violence and Mental Health incidents. 

Bio:  Deputy Commissioner Gaughan’s career with the AFP spans 40 years with extensive operational experience in general policing and investigative roles in both the ACT Region and AFP National Operations. In May 2020, Neil was appointed the Chief Police Officer for ACT Policing. Since his appointment, Neil has established a guardian policing philosophy to increase social cohesion and strengthen the legitimacy of ACT Policing within the community. Under Neil’s leadership, ACT Policing continues to focus on reducing recidivism, preventing road trauma, and improving mental health support for ACT Policing members. There has been a strong focus on working with ACT Government and the Canberra community to deliver flexible and targeted policing services. Recently, Drug Decriminalisation and raising the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility in the ACT have become areas of focus, ensuring ACT Policing is best equipped to play its part in these legislative transitions. 

Neil was promoted to Deputy Commissioner in 2018 to lead the AFP’s response to disrupting serious and organised criminal networks, combating economic and serious crimes, countering cybercrime, leading national responses to human exploitation, and managing the AFP’s international engagement. Prior to his appointment as Deputy Commissioner, Neil was the Assistant Commissioner for the Organised Crime and Counter Terrorism (CT) portfolios of the AFP. Neil led CT during an unprecedented period of CT activity. Neil was involved in the development of contemporary Australian CT policy, contributed to national countering violent extremism strategies, championed significant legislative reform and worked collaboratively with regional partners to combat terrorism regionally and globally. 

For the first 15 years of his policing career, Neil worked in a variety of roles within ACT Policing including, General Duties, Accident Investigation Squad, Criminal Investigations Branch, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Team and Professional Standards.