Former Newcastle police chief lands state role

FORMER Newcastle City police chief Max Mitchell has been named as the new boss of the state’s police transport command.

The Newcastle Herald understands that Superintendent John Gralton, who has been relieving as Newcastle City commander, will remain in the position.

Promoted to the rank of assistant commissioner, Mr Mitchell will oversee the new command responsible for safety and crime reduction on the state’s rail, bus and ferry networks.

Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione announced the new appointment today.

Mr Mitchell had been local area commander for Newcastle City, the largest in the state, before being seconded into other areas last year.

The new 300-officer command is due to more than double in size by December, 2014.

A police statement said the command would focus its efforts in three primary Metropolitan hubs in central, south-western and north-western Sydney; and seven satellite areas, including the Hunter, Central Coast and Illawarra regions.

“It will be a challenge but he is a proven leader and I’m confident he will guide the new command with his usual professionalism,’’ Mr Scipione said.

“Whilst the community has high expectations when it comes to public transport safety, Mr Mitchell is the right person for the job.’’

With 30 years experience, Mr Mitchell was a designated detective and trained hostage negotiator as well as local area commander at Tuggerah Lakes and Brisbane Water.

His career highlights include leading a team of 130 NSW police officers during Operation Monro, assisting New Zealand authorities after last year’s devastating Christchurch earthquake.

In 2008, he headed the Performance Improvement and Planning Command, which led to the introduction of the Force’s Command Performance Assessment program, “Compass.”

The police transport command was formed last month.

“I am proud and grateful to have received this opportunity,” Mr Mitchell said.

“I am keen to work in partnership with Transport NSW, Railcorp, the State Transit Authority, Sydney Ferries and most importantly, the commuting public to provide the most secure NSW transport network possible,” he said.

“It’s a brand new command and I am looking forward to spearheading a dynamic team that will tackle public transport safety issues head-on.”

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