I remember John when he was a Cadet and his father worked at the Fingerprints Section which was then located at the Police Training Centre at Redfern.
John’s Dad rode a motor cycle outfit to and from work and John would arrive at the PTC of a morning sitting up very proudly in the sidecar.
After nearly 60 years of service with the NSW Police Force, Senior Sergeant John Thompson is ready to call time on his distinguished career.
The decorated officer – who began as a 17-year-old police cadet in Redfern in 1962 before being officially sworn in on his 19th birthday – started his long service leave on Friday (15 May 2020) and will officially retire from the force in January 2023.
Senior Sergeant Thompson will retire after 61 years; making him the longest-serving police officer in NSW.
But his connection with the NSW Police Force started well before that – he was born at Gulargambone Police Station in 1944.
His father, uncle and great-grandfather also served as police officers – his great-grandfather, Sub Inspector John Carroll, arrested Andrew George Scott (also known as Captain Moonlight the Bushranger) in Gundagai back in 1879.
Snr Sgt Thompson started as a probationary constable at Parramatta Police Station and has worked in various commands across the force, including Chatswood, Surry Hills, and Police Transport Branch.
He also worked the 21 Division, where he served with his father, Senior Sergeant Ross Thompson. The 21 Division was the training ground for the Criminal Investigations Branch for many years until its disbandment.
During his career, he has been awarded the NSW Police medal, the National Police Service Medal, the National Medal as well as clasps, and the 150th NSW Police Force Anniversary medal.
He also received a letter of thanks for his service from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge following their visit to Australia in 2014.
For the last 20 years of his career, Snr Sgt Thompson has worked in the State Planning Unit at major events across the state, including New Year’s Eve, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, Bathurst 1000, and the Tamworth Country Music Festival.
His last arrest was three years ago while working at the New Year’s Eve celebrations for an alleged aggravated robbery.
To hear more of Snr Sgt Thompson’s interview, please visit
Probationary Constable – appointed 7 February 1945 ( aged 20yrs, 6mths )
Constable – appointed ? ? ?
Detective – appointed ? ? ?
Constable 1st Class – appointed ? ? ?
Senior Constable – appointed ? ? ?
Sergeant 3rd Class – appointed ? ? ?
Sergeant 2nd Class – appointed 16 November 1965
Sergeant 1st Class – appointed 25 November 1968
Inspector – appointed ? ? ?
Superintendent – appointed 1 December 1978
Acting Commissioner ( Crime ) – appointed 14 November 1979
Commissioner – appointed ? December 1981 – August 1984
Final Rank: Commissioner of Police
Service: From 12 February 1941 to? August 1984 = 38 years Service
Awards: Queen’s Police Medal ( QPM ) granted 31 December 1976 in recognition of service to the NSW Police Force ( Insp 2/C )
National Medal – granted 11 June 1982 ( Commissioner )
Officer of the Order of Australia ( AO ) granted 26 January 1985 in recognition of service to the NSW Police Force ( Retired )
Born: Thursday 7 August 1924
Died: Wednesday 12 March 2014
Age: 89 years, 7 months, 5 days
Funeral date: Wednesday 19 March 2014 – 11am
Funeral location: St Declan’s Catholic Church, 92 Penshurst Street
(at the intersection of Forest Road), PENSHURST
Buried at: ?
CECIL is NOT mentioned on the Police Wall of Remembrance * NOT JOB RELATED
Location of Funeral Service:
Former commissioner ‘Cec’ Abbott’s career saluted
By Sheree Mutton
March 18, 2014, 3 p.m.
FORMER NSW police commissioner Cecil “Cec” Abbott will be farewelled at a funeral service at Penshurst on Wednesday.
Mr Abbott (pictured), a resident of St George, died last Wednesday in St George Hospital, aged 89.
He joined the NSW Police Force as a cadet in 1941, was sworn in in 1945 and rose to become the 16th police commissioner from December 1981 to August 1984.
Mr Abbott was awarded the Police Long Service and Good Conduct Medal in May 1967 and the Queen’s Police Medal in January 1977. He received the National Medal in June 1982 and was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in January 1985.
Among his many achievements, Mr Abbott was instrumental in the formation of the police undercover branch and the formation of covert police sites.
Commissioner Andrew Scipione said Mr Abbott made a significant contribution to the NSW Police Force in his 43 years’ service.
“It is widely accepted that the foundations of contemporary drug law enforcement nationally can be attributed to his leadership and commitment throughout his dedicated service to the people of NSW,” he said.
From the other side of the desk, I was a young 16 year old in Sydney when I got into trouble for drug related offences…..Cec Abbott was the head of the drug squad and whilst we were on totally different “wavelengths”, he treated me very well and with a lot of integrity….something which cannot be said about some other police, but that is another story. He was a very father like figure to many of us drug users, but still stood for no nonsense.
M Abbott sean 3 months ago
Sorry that this is a little bit delayed – I wasn’t aware that this thread existed. Thank you so much for those kind words.
daniel nakhle Wednesday, March 19, 2014 6:15 PM
condolences to cecils family and friends he was a great neighbour and top cop wishing your family love and support through this difficult time he was a true pillar of the community rip.
Nick Vlahos Wednesday, March 19, 2014 2:20 PM
A true gentleman of yesteryear, a shining light from an era where words such as INTEGRITY, RESPECT & HONOUR had real meaning and valued! A great man held in high regard and a fantastic neighbor. Our thoughts and prayers to his immediate family, Edna, Paul, Jessica, Chloe & Micaela Abbott.
Rebecca Tuesday, March 18, 2014 9:57 PM
Mr Abbott was a truly good man and NSW was all the better for having him as a Commissioner. All condolences to his family.
Popular police commissioner Cecil Abbott ‘a man of integrity’
By Sheree Mutton
March 20, 2014, 5:55 a.m.
FORMER NSW police commissioner Cecil ‘‘Cec’’ Abbott was remembered as a ‘‘popular and inspirational leader’’ at a funeral service at Penshurst on Wednesday.
Mr Abbott, who grew up in Hurstville Grove, died last week in St George Hospital. He was 89.
NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione addressed mourners at the service held at St Declan’s Catholic Church.
‘‘Cec believed that the ideal police officer married academic accomplishment with street wisdom and experience,’’ Mr Scipione said.
‘‘A man of the utmost integrity, he fought tirelessly against corruption. He also put his considerable energy towards modernising the Police Force, investing in training and modern equipment, stressing that criminals don’t stand still, so the police couldn’t afford to either.’’
Mr Abbott joined the NSW Police Force as a cadet in 1941 when he was 16.
He was sworn in as a police officer in 1945 and went on to become the 16th police commissioner, serving December 1981 to August 1984.
The former Hurstville inspector was awarded the police long service and good conduct medal in 1967 and the Queen’s police medal in 1977.
He also received the national medal in 1982 and was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1985.
Mr Scipione said Mr Abbott was a skilled detective who could communicate with people from all walks of life.
‘‘From a member of the public or the police officer on the street, through to those holding the highest of office in Australia and overseas, Cec was equally approachable and giving of his time and experience,’’ he said.
‘‘A man of integrity, a man of foresight, who, in his time as Commissioner, proved himself a popular and inspirational leader.’’
He is survived by wife Edna, son Paul and three grandchildren, Jessica, Chloe and Micaela.
On the 20 July, 1984, the NSW Police Academy was officially opened in Goulburn by the Minister for Police and Emergency Services the Hon. Peter Anderson (M.P.);
Commissioner of Police Cecil Abbott, QPM; and the Principal of the NSW Police Academy, Executive Chief Superintendent Ron Wark. (Although students were in residence from May, 1984).
Cec Abbott, Q.P.M.
Assistant Commissioner – Crime
Cecil Roy Abbott, Q.P.M., Assistant Commissioner (Crime) from 14 November, 1979 can justifiably reflect back on a fruitful I period of service spanning 38 years. He is a native of Hurstville, where he resides with his wife Edna and son Paul.
Mr Abbott was educated at Sydney Technical High School, joined the New South Wales Police Cadet Corps in 1941 and
graduated to the Police Service on the 7 February, 1945.
Mr Abbott, arising from his vast experience and dedication as a Detective in the investigation and study of drug related crime, is recognised as a leading authority on an International level, by Drug Law Enforcement Bodies throughout the World.
The Assistant Commissioner is a dedicated Police Officer, who believes team-work is the essence of efficiency. His message to Police is to believe in their ability to maintain law and order in a trendy society; provide the service to Government and to the community for which we are obligated and above all, apply wisdom, understanding and common sense in the performance of same. Discretion and tact are the essential requirements if
public support is to be obtained.
VALEDICTORY: Retired NSW Police Commissioner Cecil Roy Abbott
7 Photos · Updated 6 years ago
When you are Commissioner of Police you are squarely in the public eye. In times of natural disaster, the media, government and community looks to you. If there is a fugitive on the loose, every move you make is scrutinised. If an officer does the wrong thing – or even does the right thing – your response is awaited; anticipated. Not a day goes by where you are spared judgement. Not a day goes by when you can relax completely, satisfied that you have met all expectations. Only the passage of time affords a measure. And in Cec Abbott’s case, history has him down as one of our state’s finest Police Commissioners. A man of integrity, a man of foresight. A man who, in his time as Commissioner, proved himself a popular and inspirational leader. Cecil Roy Abbott was born in 1924 and grew up in Hurstville Grove, just a few kilometres from where we gather today to remember, to celebrate his life, and to offer our good-byes. Cec, to all who knew him, was educated at Sydney Technical High School and joined the New South Wales Police Cadet Corps in February 1941. Cadet Number 0302, he was just 16 years old. On the 7th of February 1945 Cec was attested to the New South Wales Police Force as a Probationary Constable, performing general duties and motor cycle policing in Darlinghurst. In an interesting insight to that time, entry 2018 on his service register shows that on the 27th of December 1946 Cec was granted “permission to marry Miss Margaret Edna Robinson on the 15th of February 1947”. And we join with Edna and their son Paul today. As well as Cec’s three grand-children Jessica, Chloe, and Micaela, and members of the extended Abbott family. It was in late 1946 that Cec would commence Detective Training, and he performed duty in the Criminal Investigation and Special Branches, rising to the Officer in Charge of the Drug Squad in 1959. At that time the advancement for Squad Commanders was limited to Detective Sergeant First Class, and so in 1974 Cec’s career moved away from criminal investigation duties with a promotion to Inspector, first at Hurstville, and then as Deputy Principal at the Police Academy. In 1977 the now Inspector First Class Abbott lent his expertise to the Woodward Royal Commission into Drug Trafficking. And later to the South Australian Royal Commission into the Non-Medical use of Drugs; as a Liaison Officer. Further promotions followed: to Superintendent in 1978, Assistant Commissioner in 1979, and Senior Assistant Commissioner in 1981. Cec was appointed Commissioner of Police on the 30th of December 1981, the state’s 16th Police Commissioner. And as Commissioner, perhaps one of his proudest days came in 1983 when he attested his own son Paul into the profession he had committed his working life to. His service register lists page after page of letters of appreciation at all stages of his policing career for good work, assistance rendered and for the professionalism he brought to his work. Awards, too, were many. In May 1967 Mr Abbott was awarded the Police Long Service Medal and Good Conduct Medal. He was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in 1976 and later the National Medal in 1982. And on the 26th of January 1985 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for his contribution to public service, particularly with the New South Wales Police Force. Commissioner Cec Abbott AO QPM retired from office after 43½ years of service on the 6th of August 1984. Cec believed that the ideal police officer married academic accomplishment with street wisdom and experience. A man of the utmost integrity, he fought tirelessly against corruption. He also put his considerable energy towards modernising the Police Force, investing in training and modern equipment. Stressing that criminals don’t stand still, so the police couldn’t afford to either. And it was not just on drug matters that he was a pioneer. In many other ways he was ahead of his time. He was instrumental in forming the Police Undercover Branch and establishing covert police sites. He championed a role for female police in investigative roles. And in the cause of coordinated, effective law enforcement, he worked tirelessly to connect police forces divided by state and national borders We see in today’s Police Force the culmination of many of the initiatives that Cec began. Cec had the rare ability to communicate easily and as an equal with people at all levels. From a member of the public or the police officer on the street, through to those holding the highest of office in Australia and overseas, Cec was equally approachable and giving of his time and experience. And that never changed. Now senior officers fondly recall meeting Commissioner Abbott very early on in their careers, and being struck by how down to earth and genuinely interested in their lot he was. As my summary of his service attests, Cec was also an experienced drug detective for more than 30 years and his name became synonymous with drug law enforcement. When you spoke of the Drug Squad, or of Drug Law Enforcement, you spoke of Cec Abbott. His skill and tenacity as a young Detective would see him recognised as a leading international authority by drug enforcement bodies. He worked with the Narcotics Bureaus in Hong Kong and in Tokyo, he provided assistance to Singapore with their drug laws, he addressed numerous conferences and symposia, he spoke at schools and hospitals. He spoke passionately on the emerging scourge of drugs, to the Houses of Parliament, at schools and on television, compelling all that would listen on the need for action. And he is on record at the Institute of Criminology as far back as 1968 saying that unless ruthlessness was adopted in drug law enforcement, principally by politicians, and the installation of powers and resources, then he feared for the future. And his passion and commitment bore fruit. Cec submitted a report that was considered by many senior officers of the day to be, as Cec would later put it: “pie in the sky”. But as always, he persevered, his recommendations were accepted, and a Squad of about 16 officers was formed. Creating the Drug Squad much as we now know it. Detectives, surveillance, safe houses, many of the resources that we consider fundamental today. And the successes followed, with drugs removed from the streets, and traffickers put before the Courts. In 2007 Cec was among three retired officers that the Drug Squad of the State Crime Command honoured as Squad Patrons. At that important Ceremony, a first for the State Crime Command and the NSW Police Force, the Squad formally recognised and paid its respects to Cec for his ground breaking work and leadership in the profession of drug law enforcement. For creating the foundations on which the Squad now flourishes. When our working life is over I expect that each and every one of us wants to look back over our time with a sense of pride and achievement, and with a belief that those tens of thousands of hours of labour were worth it. That the cause was worth the effort, was worth fighting for. That we used our time well. If we’re honest, I am sure we’d also like to think that those we worked with and for thought well of us, respected the job we did and the person we were. There is a video of the ceremony that captures the address given by Cec at the State Crime Command Ceremony I mentioned earlier. His passion for detective work, and drug enforcement in particular, are plain to see, undimmed by the passing of more than two decades since his retirement. The State Crime Command is home to our most skilled detectives … investigating our most complex and serious cases. To impress this group, you need to have something special. You need to know your stuff. And Cec clearly knew his stuff. The respect from the Detectives gathered to hear him speak is so unmistakably evident. Every officer in the venue held in thrall. There could be no doubt that Cec had used his time as a police officer well. In so many endeavours, we now see further and with greater clarity, by standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before. In retired Commissioner Cecil Roy Abbott AO QPM the NSW Police Force truly stands on the shoulders of a giant. I am privileged to be able to represent every member of the NSW Police Force to farewell a Commissioner who served the Force and the people of New South Wales with honour, and distinction. Our prayers travel with you Cec, may you rest in peace.