Policing in Australia Since 1788 - In the Line of Duty
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Administration of justice in the colony

NSW 1787
Second Commission to Arthur Phillip, 2 April, 1787
New South Wales Archives

Governor Arthur Phillip's second commission from King George III empowered him to "appoint constables and other necesary officers and ministers in our said territory and its dependencies for the better administraion of justice and putting the law in execution".
The policing of the colony of New South Wales was initially expected of the Royal Navy Marines, but it was not a role they were prepared to undertake. Soon after landing in 1788 Governor Arthur Phillip appointed John Smith, a free settler, to the position of Constable. Smith did not remain long in office, but he retains the honour of being the first recorded Police Officer in Australia.