Cor­rup­tion cru­sader dies

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS - SE­NIOR WRITER

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.

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