Chief Police Officer

Chief Police Officer for the ACT, Justine Saunders

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Assistant Commissioner Justine Saunders APM has been a member of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) for 27 Years.

She spent her first 10 years performing a range of community policing functions and detective roles in general and specialised investigative areas within the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

Assistant Commissioner Saunders then moved into the National AFP arena where she undertook leadership roles in operational teams responsible for transnational crime, drug importations, people smuggling, counter terrorism, fraud and intelligence.

Between 2004 and 2006, Assistant Commissioner Saunders was the Law Enforcement Liaison Officer to the former Minister of Justice and Customs. Following this role Assistant Commissioner Saunders was deployed to New York as the Australian Police Advisor, Australian Mission to the United Nations, where she represented Australia’s interests on strategic policing and UN peacekeeping issues.

In 2009 she became the Commander of Special References where she oversaw investigations of politically sensitive referrals, war crimes, corruption, bribery of foreign officials, and offshore kidnappings of Australians. In 2010 she moved to the Counter Terrorism portfolio where she managed the AFP’s offshore and domestic counter terrorism responsibilities.

In October 2012 Assistant Commissioner Saunders was promoted to National Manager Policy & Governance, where she led teams that work across all areas to deliver policy and strategic policy advice, performance analysis and audit services.

In 2014 Assistant Commissioner Saunders assumed the position of Chief of Staff responsible for ensuring effective AFP engagement with external stakeholders including Government and the media, in addition to AFP’s contribution to the development and implementation of government policy.

Between July and October 2016 Assistant Commissioner Saunders performed the role of Deputy Commissioner Operations, responsible for delivering operational outcomes across the organisation, taking a leading role in whole-of-government approaches to complex and shifting crime challenges, actively pursuing collaboration with partners and enhancing a professional AFP culture.

She commenced the role of the Chief Police Officer for the ACT on 8 November 2016.

Assistant Commissioner Saunders has a Bachelor of Social Sciences with Distinction, a Graduate Certificate in Applied Management and a Masters in Management and Leadership.

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