Retired Police Association of Victoria

President's Message

Dear Members,

It is with great pride that I was recently elected as President of the Retired Police of Victoria.

To provide a little detail about myself, I was a member of Squad 1/82 and resigned at the rank of Senior Sergeant in 1999 to pursue a career in teaching. Aside from being a classroom teacher, mainly at Year 11 and 12, I have been a Deputy Principal and Acting Principal in schools across this time. I currently work at Wesley College Melbourne.

I was very fortunate to be stationed at some outstanding locations across the journey, namely Fitzroy Police Station, the National Crime Authority, the Major Incident Planning Unit and the Recruit Training Course. I was also very fortunate to have some great mentors along the way in John Dunk, Leigh Gassner, Warren Knowles, Chris Notman, Bob Graham, Bob Martin, Dusty Miller and Rod Wilson. Also, a big thank-you collectively to the Sergeants and Senior Sergeants from Fitzroy in the 1980’s, who had their hands full with the Constables and Senior Constables that were lucky enough to be stationed there during that time.

My ties to Vicpol remain very strong. My eldest daughter Madison is a First Constable at Cranbourne Police Station, and my youngest daughter Abbey is a VPS at Caulfield Police Station. Coupled with some of my best friends being still in the Force and the annual Fitzroy Police Station catch-up, it is hard to not have an ear to the ground.

When I first graduated from the Academy, I was always interested to read the RPA article in the Police Association Journal and think how good that there was an Association for retired members. George Stafford was the Secretary of the RPA at the time. When I resigned from Vicpol, joining the Association was the first thing I did and I have been a financial member ever since.

The RPA has a lot to be proud of. Ninety-Five years of continuous operation as a network and support vehicle for all those that have gone before us and for all those that precede us.

I would like to acknowledge the efforts of the RPA Committees of the past and the current RPA Committee for all the work they do.

I would like to thank Ron Veldman for his time as President, for steering the RPA through a difficult period, for attaining his well-deserved life membership and also for staying on to assist the RPA with select projects moving forward.

On Police Remembrance Day, I had the pleasure of representing the RPA for the laying of a wreath. It was humbling to see the turnout of members past and present. I would like to thank Assistant Commissioner Chris Gilbert for looking after me and making sure I was in the parade, and in formation ready to march. Much to my relief I did not square gait. It was also fantastic to see the public support as we marched along St Kilda Road. Chief Commissioner Shane Patten provided an insightful address to all that gathered for the event.

On Friday the 6th of October, I was a guest at the Police Association Life Members and Retirees Dinner. This was a tremendous night with a speech provided by Association Secretary Wayne Gatt, acknowledged the service of retiring members. For those who have not had the privilege to being at one of these events, the stories and years of service provided by our members is truly remarkable. Well done to all and well done to the Police Association and its staff on a fantastic evening.

I have had the opportunity to talk with Dave McGowan the CEO of Police Veterans Victoria (PVV) and am very confident that both the RPA and PVV can work both individually and together moving forward. Dave and I will be catching up for a meeting in the coming weeks. While our charters may be somewhat different our combined purposes remain in the support and networking with our former members. I also had the opportunity to have a discussion with Mick Hayes, Board Member of PVV at the Association dinner, which was very beneficial.

On Tuesday the 17th of October, I chaired my first RPA Meeting at the Victoria Police Centre. The meeting took place in one of the state-of-the-art meeting rooms on the 27th floor. What a fantastic facility. Our appreciation goes out to the Force for allowing us the use of this facility for our Committee meetings.

So where to from here in my role as President?

My aim is to ensure that the RPA remains a visible and viable group that builds on its 95-year history and traditions. How will we do this?

By continuing to grow our membership and continuing to offer our members a strong networking and support facility that allows them to still feel part of “The Job” that they did, loved and still wish to feel a part of.

In closing, thank you to the Victoria Police and the Victoria Police Association for affording the Retired Police Association recognition and involvement in special events and ceremonies. Thank you to my current Vice President Barbara Brand, Secretary, Phil Parson, Treasurer, Greg Greenwood, Gazette Editor, Phil Egan and the other Committee members Peter Berry, John Gittus, Ken Heaslip, Ian MacDonald, Adrian Paterson and Peter Milne for welcoming me aboard and providing great words of encouragement.

Finally, thank you to everyone who is an RPA Member. The Association is for you, is better for your involvement and will continue to flourish as we build our membership numbers.


Regards to all,

Paul Thorne

Retired 23252

President RPA