Australian Federal Police (AFP) commissioner Andrew Colvin has announced he will not seek a further term in the top job and thanked the agency for adopting future-proofing technology initiatives on his watch.
Colvin, who has led the AFP since 2014 and was appointed its first assistant commissioner of High Tech Crime Operations in 2008, won’t be looking to extend his five-year contract, which expires in October 2019.
“This has been by far the hardest decision of my 30 years as a police officer, but I believe this is the right decision for me, for my family, and for the AFP,” Colvin said in a statement.
“The AFP is a great organisation and we do incredibly important work every day to keep Australia safe. It is with enormous pride that I have led the AFP for the past five years, a time during which we have achieved incredible success against a range of crimes both at home, and abroad.”
Developments in cyber crime, in particular, have forced the AFP to evolve by “adopting new technologies and shifting traditional thinking about how crime is combatted".
“Five years ago, we embarked on significant reform for the AFP which we always knew would be challenging, but ultimately agency-defining. We took the time to consider what we do, but also how we do it. I want to say thank you to the AFP for embracing the changes I believe were so necessary in becoming the best organisation that we can be,” he said.
Such efforts have been bolstered by additional funds injected through the likes of the 2016 national cyber security strategy to increase the number of specialists for cyber threat detection, technical analysis and forensic assessments.
Colvin has also been heavily involved with the agency’s relentless push for more powers to access citizens’ data, from the metadata retention scheme put forward when he was deputy commissioner in 2014, through to the contentious (to say the least) 'Crypto' Access and Assistance Bill that passed through parliament at the end of last year.
This year, Colvin has lamented the poor state of Australian tech talent pool, especially in the public sector, and the agency has flagged a potential shift to Microsoft’s protected-level public cloud by transitioning its current Sharepoint environments to Office 365.
Colvin will now work with the government on establishing a transition plan for the organisation. However, the AFP noted that the secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has been aware of Colvin’s decision since before the federal election, with minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton notified shortly afterwards.
“I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been a part of this organisation for almost the entirety of my working life and to work alongside the most dedicated and professional men and women, committed to protecting the communities they serve,” he added.
Colvin joined the AFP in 1990, and has since coordinated the agency’s response to the 2002 Bali bombings, the 2003 Jakarta Marriot bombing, and the 2004 Australian Embassy bombing in Jakarta.