Corruption crusader dies
HE WAS the state’s top cop during the turbulent Blue Murder years, but John Avery was determined to battle the bent blue line and reform the force.
The former NSW Police commissioner died on Friday night at the age of 90 after battling illness, four months after losing his wife, Zoe.
During his long tenure as commissioner from 1984 to 1991, Mr Avery oversaw a notorious period, made famous by the TV miniseries Blue Murder.
He set his sights on cleaning up corruption and in 1986, dodgy detective and now convicted murderer, Roger Rogerson, was booted off the force.
NSW Police Minister Troy Grant said Mr Avery, a fatherof-three, would be remembered as “giant in the NSW Police Force”.
“He enacted organisational change through his regionalisation structure, reconnecting the police with the community and tackling corruption within the ranks,” Mr Grant said in a statement.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said Mr Avery, one of the longestserving police commissioners, was “one of the great servants to the people of NSW”.
“He was a man of incredible intellect and vision who set out to ensure that police and the community worked together to reduce crime,” Mr Fuller said.
Mr Avery, who made his way as a young constable patrolling the streets of Sydney to the top job, is survived by his children Sue, Carol and Rick and their families.
Western Sydney University criminologist Michael Kennedy said he had “a lot of faith” in Mr Avery when he was an undercover officer during this tenure.
“He was an agent of change who had a lot of empathy and understanding,” he said. “He never tried to pretend that policing was a job done with clean hands.”
Funeral details will be released when final arrangements have been made.
John Avery was police commissioner in 1986 when Roger Rogerson (below) was booted out of the force.