The new era in NSW Police is here as Karen Webb, the incoming Commissioner to the top position, calls for a “proportionate reaction” to drug abuse and ensures victims of domestic or sexual violence can trust the law enforcement.

Ms Webb signalled a possible shift in Mick Fuller’s staunch anti-illicit drug position. She indicated her willingness to accept a police response that is tough on suppliers, but more focused on users.

“There must be a proportionate response based on my perception of the severity. People need to be held accountable for manufacturing, dealing, and supplying the product. In a lengthy interview, she explained that it was affecting people’s lives.

What does it mean to be accountable for someone who is a user of the site? I am not yet certain of the answer.

“What we must be is proportionate. It is impossible to solve the problem of suppliers by putting all our efforts into getting users.

Based on the concerns of many police officers regarding legalizing use of dangerous substances, Mr Fuller opposed any decriminalization of drug possession. However, he has supported expansion of a diversion program for users that includes fines, education, and health programs.

Ms. Webb’s top priority is to ensure victims can trust police and cooperate with them, especially in cases of domestic and sexual violence.

She stated, “We must ensure that every case and every victim is treated correctly and can expect the exact same level of service.”

“[NSW Police] must ensure that we are really working hard to support victims of crime, especially in those areas of crime, and that they can trust us to help them through the legal process.

It takes patience, hard work, and perseverance to make it happen. To keep victims involved, trust us and be fully engaged in the legal process, we must persevere.

She stated that ending the underreporting and stigmatization of sexual assault is key to achieving this.

Sexual assaults are often not reported and only a few cases end in convictions. According to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, 4444 cases involving adult victims were reported in 2019. 20 percent were taken to court within six month. A significant proportion of defendants are convicted than for other serious offenses, at 56%.

“Even though it may seem bad, as more people come forward, we can get a better idea of the true situation. “I hope they trust the police to come forward,” Ms Webb stated.

Ms. Webb was asked if the police have ever failed victims of sexual assault. We must always do our best.

Premier Dominic Perrottet called Ms Webb on Tuesday night to confirm her hopes of overseeing the 22,000-strong force. David Elliott, Police Minister, confirmed these hopes.

For the job, she beat Mal Lanyon and Mick Willing, both Deputy Commissioners.

She said, “I didn’t sleep much, because I was so excited.”

On Wednesday, Mr Perrottet stated that Ms Webb displayed integrity, honesty, and drive. Her appointment was historic, but she wasn’t selected based upon gender.

“She was selected because of her talent and her leadership abilities. He stated that this was the only factor that determined his appointment.

Ms Webb stated that the number of women working in the military had increased significantly since she began her career, and she hoped this trend will continue. She said, “I’m certain there are a lot more women who are considering it and I’d encourage them to sign up.”

The appointment was hailed by the Police Association of NSW, which represents officers.

Tony King, president of the association, stated that Karen Webb’s appointment was a historic first for state and a forward-thinking move by the government.

Ms. Webb’s appointment to Commissioner marks the culmination of a 34 year career in policing, which began as a general duty officer at Castle Hill Police Station in Sydney’s north-west.

She was the first to be promoted to the Traffic and Highway Patrol boss last year. Prior to that, she worked in the State Surveillance Branch, the Police Transport & Public Safety Command and the Child Mistreatment Unit.

She was also deputy state emergency operations controller, and she worked closely with all emergency services agencies during the 2019-20 floods, bushfires and COVID-19 pandemics.

Another priority is to repair community relationships, especially in areas that were designated LGAs of concern during this year’s prolonged lockdown.

“We have some work to do at every command level. It doesn’t have to be a top-down approach. Each command must do their own thing because every community is unique. First, we must establish mechanisms to ask the community. Then we need to create engagements that measure the results and ensure that they are done.

The NSW Police will be leaving Commissioner Fuller in the early part of next year.