Commissioner Kershaw Welcomes Reappointment

AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw has today welcomed his reappointment until October 2026.

Commissioner Kershaw was first appointed in October 2019 after serving four years as the Northern Territory Police Commissioner and chief executive of Fire and Emergency Services.

Commissioner Kershaw today thanked the AFP workforce for their dedication to the Australian public.

“This is my 10th year of being a Police Commissioner, and while the AFP has achieved extraordinary results, we have never been more resolute in entrenching those outcomes to help keep Australians safe and protect Australia’s interests,” Commissioner Kershaw said.

“Crime has never been more complex and transnational. It requires a tech-savvy, agile and experienced workforce to help stay ahead of those criminals who wrongly believe they are untouchable.

“The dedicated women and men of the AFP are among the first lines of defence for Australia.”

Commissioner Kershaw said the AFP would continue to build on the success achieved.

When first appointed, Commissioner Kershaw implemented new strategies to dismantle organised crime, including the creation of specialist teams to locate and arrest global fugitives and high-value targets.

Since 2019, domestic drug seizures have prevented more than $45 billion in harm against the Australian public.

Saving children has always been a primary driver for the former child protection investigator.

The AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) remains a key priority for Commissioner Kershaw.

Between 2019-2023, the AFP, charged 748 offenders with 6487 offences as a result of child exploitation investigations. The ACCCE, with Joint Anti Child Exploitation Teams (JACETS) and international partners, also removed 565 children from harm.

In 2020, Commissioner Kershaw established Operation Dolos, a multi-agency taskforce that has since returned $65 million to cyber crime victims.

Two years later, a dedicated Joint Policing Cybercrime Coordination Centre was created in Sydney to help counter some of the most pervasive cyber crime threats against Australians and business.

He has reinforced the AFP’s international presence and boosted partnerships in the Pacific, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Europe to help stop crime at source countries but also counter geo-political crime.

A specialised High Risk Terrorism capability was established to support a new Counter Terrorism and Special Investigations Command, which this year helped secure the first foreign interference prosecution since new laws were introduced in 2018.

Significant investment has been directed at professionalising the workforce, advancing a more gender-balanced agency, and increasing personnel by more than 18 per cent to address growing federal crime.

Under Commissioner Kershaw’s tenure, a permanent position of Deputy Commissioner was appointed for ACT Policing, underscoring the importance of local police service for the ACT.

Commissioner Kershaw said he was deeply proud of a very clever workforce, and in particular all members who continued to achieve exceptional outcomes for the Australian Community.

“Next month marks the third anniversary of Operation Ironside, the biggest organised crime disruption in the Southern Hemisphere,” Commissioner Kershaw said.

“Operation Ironside has severely weakened organised crime in this country, and those who target Australia from offshore.

“As of today, 392 alleged offenders have been charged with more than 2300 offences. Operation Ironside saved 29 people who were facing executions by gangs, seized more than 6.6 tonnes of illicit drugs and $55 million in the proceeds of crime.

“Australians are safer today because of the work of the AFP’s dedicated workforce.

“I want to particularly thank the hundreds of members and support personnel who are posted offshore, many away from their families.”

Commissioner Kershaw acknowledged the honour of continuing as the head of the AFP and said he was committed to working hard every day to keep Australians safe.

“I’m not going to show organised crime, cyber criminals and other high-value targets my hand. But what I will say is that we have some significant operations that will build on the work that we have done over the years.

“I know we have the smartest workforce of any policing organisation in the world. Just like I assure the community that I will work hard for them every day, I also give the same assurance to our 8000-plus members.”

AFP Achievements under Commissioner Reece Kershaw

Crime fighting and protecting Australians and Australia’s interests

  • Since 2019, domestic drug seizures have prevented more than $45 billion in harm to the Australian community.
  • The 2020 establishment of Operation Dolos, a multi-agency AFP-led taskforce targeting cyber criminals who use business email compromise. Investigations have returned $65 million to victims.
  • An immediate re-prioritisation of the AFP-led Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce, which since the Commissioner’s appointment has restrained $1.1 billion in the proceeds of crime.
  • The 2020 resolution of Operation Ironside, the biggest organised crime investigation in the Southern Hemisphere, leading to the charging of 392 offenders on 2355 offences.
  • The 2021 establishment of the Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team (FAST), which locates fugitives across the globe. The FAST has located 41 alleged offenders, some before the courts in Australia and overseas.
  • The 2021 establishment of Operation GAIN, which targets high-value offshore criminals. Operation Gain has led to the arrest of 24 alleged organised crime figures, including high-profile individuals before Australian courts.
  • The creation in 2023 of the highly-successful, AFP-led, anti-money-laundering strategy, Taskforce Avarus, which has charged 48 alleged offenders for money laundering and restrained about $421 million in the proceeds of crime.
  • The 2022 establishment of the AFP-led Joint Policing Cybercrime Coordination Centre in response to the escalating cybercrime threat in Australia.
  • One of the largest AFP-led child exploitation investigations, Operation Tenterfield, leading to a former childcare worker being charged with 1623 offences.
  • The establishment of the High Risk Terrorism Offender capability.
  • A year-long criminal investigation by the AFP, as a member of the Counter Foreign Interference Taskforce, leading to the first successful prosecution of foreign interference since new laws started in 2018.
  • Between 2019-2023, the AFP, charged 748 offenders with 6487 offences as a result of child exploitation investigations.
  • The ACCCE, with JACETS and international partners, also removed 565 children from harm.

Strengthening and investing in the AFP workforce

  • Commissioner Kershaw championed a review of the AFP’s operational model, sparking a restructure to support a workforce closer to the crime being investigated.
  • Appointing a Deputy Commissioner to ACT Policing.
  • Obtaining additional investment from the ACT Government for ACT Policing.
  • The AFP Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2023-26 was launched to build and strengthen diversity and inclusion, recognising the collective diversity and contributions of the workforce is what makes AFP a stronger organisation.
  • The AFP has grown significantly since 2019-20 – with more than an 18 per cent increase in the number of members employed given Federal crime demands.
  • The 2023 launch of Dandelion Program, which supports skilled neurodivergent members joining the AFP.
  • The establishment of an AFP Reserve, which supports retired members to stay connected to the AFP and provide a surge capability when needed.
  • The establishment of SHIELD, a health and wellbeing model for AFP members, providing access to leading health and wellbeing services and support including through additional medical specialists.
  • The 2021 establishment of the First Nations Unit, which progresses and enhances relationships and partnerships with the First Nations’ community.
  • Partnership with the Australian Human Rights Commission to explore and enhance gender equity across the AFP.
  • Seed funding for a new Museum of Australian Policing to highlight and educate the community about the AFP.
  • Providing extra support for protective service officers working in remote locations throughout Australia.
  • Creating a new, separate, National Security Deputy Commissioner role to manage threat and a complex operating environment.
  • A more gender-balanced executive, with 42 per cent of senior leadership now women, compared to 36 per cent in 2018.


  • Commissioner Kershaw ordered a review into how the AFP responds to sensitive investigations. Reviewer, former AFP Deputy Commissioner John Lawler, provided 24 options, which have been implemented. The review sparked the formation of the Sensitive Investigations Oversight Board, which is chaired by a Deputy Commissioner who provides strategic direction and management.
  • The establishment of the AFP Inspectorate to assist in providing assurance that the AFP is meeting its statutory and public expectations.
  • Investing in media and public affairs to build a bridge to community, plus having a more forward-leaning media strategy.

Boosting international relations to help fight crime

  • Commissioner Kershaw chaired the Five Eyes Law Enforcement Group between 2020-2022, working with global agencies to fight cyber crime, online child exploitation, transnational serious organised crime and radicalisation.
  • Strengthening relationships with police from Pacific Islands, including deploying AFP members for elections, large events, training and public order management.
  • The delivery of Cyber Safety Pasifika, an AFP-led cyber awareness and education program that aims to increase cyber safety and security awareness.
  • A new AFP liaison office in Paris, extending the AFP’s offshore presence to 34 countries. A 12-month feasibility study is being undertaken to determine the benefits of opening an AFP Post in Berlin.
  • Providing capability and investigations for war crime investigations.

Science and innovation for a future AFP staying a step ahead of organised crime

  • The establishment of the Artificial Intelligence for Law Enforcement and Community Safety Lab, a partnership with Monash University to research and implement AI applications to help investigations, including child exploitation.
  • The establishment of an AFP Innovation Fund in 2020 to invest in the ideas of the future for policing and community safety. More than 70 projects have been funded, including new training to establish High Risk Explosive Detection Dog capability.
  • Under the Innovation Fund, creating a capability that prevents criminals from remotely wiping evidence from their phones/devices.
  • The 2020 establishment of an AFP-led National DNA Program for Unidentified and Missing Persons, which has helped identify 54 previously unidentified human remains.

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