Australian Police

Australian Police

The Thin Blue Line – Australian Police

Criminal Investigation Branch – NSW Police Force


– The Criminal Investigation Branch –


During the re-organisation of the NSW Police Force in 1862 the activities of the detective section came under review and it was finally approved by the Inspector-General, and his advisory planners, that a Detective Force be officially established. The section became effective from the 1st March, 1862, and comprised one Sub-Inspector, six first class Detectives and six second class Detectives. Personal officially appointed to the branch were notified in the March issue of the Police Gazette of that year.


Prior to 1862 a small number of detectives were engaged in police activities within the Colony and some mention of a detective can be found in historical records as early as 1828. However their early activities are veiled in obscurity, possibly due to the fact that the detectives of that era were mostly ‘undercover men’ and answerable only to the Governor of the day.



Detectives were officially classified as a branch in 1879. They occupied premises at 109 Phillip Street, Sydney, a two storey building containing twenty rooms, and incorporating an Identification Bureau and resident quarters for the Sergeant in Charge. The personnel consisted of an Inspector, six first class Detectives, two second class Detectives and six third class Detectives. The type of crime which these early detectives had to investigate and combat included an occasional murder, highway robbery, stock and horse stealing, and petty larcenies. The most prevalent crime of the day was horse stealing.
The Detective Branch continued to function effectively from the Phillip Street location until the year 1906 when it was moved to the new Police Headquarters building on the corner of Phillip and Hunter Streets, occupying offices at ground level. The Branch remained at Police Headquarters until 1930 when it moved to Central Street, Sydney.

The NSW Police C. I. B. of 1879

WAGER, Henry Insp.
CAMPHIN, William M Det. 1st/c
LYONS, Patrick Det. 1st/c
LARKINS, Nicholas Det. 1st/c
McDOWELL, G. Det. 1st/c
HOGAN, William M. Det. 1st/c
WILLMOTT, T. W. Det. 1st/c
MULQUEENY, T Det. 2nd/c
CAMPHIN, J. Det. 2nd/c
MURRAY, W. C. Det. 3rd/c
BOYLAND, J. Det. 3rd/c
THOMAS, M. J. Det. 3rd/c
TINDALL, W. J. Det. 3rd/c
WILLIAMS, Philip Det. 3rd/c
BOULTON, Thomas Det. 3rd/c
WIGG, Walter Det. 3rd/c
MOORE, J. R. Det. 3rd/c
DUNLOP, I. C. Det. 3rd/c


In 1929 a delegation of Police officials journeyed overseas to investigate new methods and processes in crime detection, traffic control, and general administration. The party included the Chief of the Detective Branch, Superintendent W. J. Mackay. Upon their return with information gained from various sources a complete reconstruction of the Detective Branch took place, resulting in new sections being introduced and additional squads formed. The Branch was moved from Police Headquarters to Central Street, and the official title altered to that of the Criminal Investigation Branch.
The year 1930 also saw further radical changes in administration and control. Detectives of the Branch were transferred to Divisions, into which the metropolitan area had been divided, and a number were also despatched to key country centres. This re-allocation of strength resulted in a much improved service to the community as highly trained and experienced detectives were always available to investigate crime at very short notice.


The Criminal Investigation Branch made vital progress since that era, and in accordance with the demands of a rapidly expanding metropolis it had at that time a complement of 900 men, of whom 734 were actively engaged on criminal investigation duties.
The Branch had reached a high degree of efficiency in all phases of scientific research, and was frequently consulted by overseas and interstate Police bodies seeking guidance and opinion in scientific matters.
And so from modest beginnings the Criminal Investigation Branch of the New South Wales Police Force became a highly efficient adjunct of the Police Force, enjoying renown among kindred world Police organisations and admired and respected by all sections of the Australian community.



The Superintendent in Charge was the governing authority of the Branch, and it was his responsibility to administer all matters pertaining to crime, vice, staff control and the duties of the Police Prosecuting section, who assisted in the conduct of the Courts of Petty Sessions throughout New South Wales at that time.


The Superintendent of Detectives supervises the activities of Detectives disposed throughout the State and all country investigations, and was directly responsible to the Superintendent in charge.

Superintendent in Charge, Criminal Investigation Branch, Mr. R. F. Walden. – 1962

Superintendent of Detectives, Mr. A. E. Windsor. – 1962


The Branch for administration and general efficiency purposes had been divided into four sub-districts.

No. 1 Sub-District embraced Clarence and Phillip Street Police Divisions in the city, and all northern suburbs.

No. 2 Sub-District commenced at Regent Street Police Division and incorporated areas in Balmain, Kogarah, Campsie, Bankstown and Sutherland municipalities.

No. 3 Sub-District comprised of Darlinghurst Police Division and all eastern suburbs.

No. 4 Sub-District commenced at Petersham Police Division and embraced the districts surrounding Burwood, Parramatta, Liverpool and Penrith. The latter zone also extended to the Blue Mountains.

Detectives were attached to Divisions within these zonal areas and were supervised by a Detective Inspector who was responsible for the conduct and supervision of such personal. In cases of serious crime the Sub-District Inspector would attend at the scene, and direct all phases of the ensuring investigations.

The four Detective Inspectors were responsible to the Superintendent in Charge and the Superintendent of Detectives, and all collectively they formed the nucleus of administration of the Criminal Investigation Branch.


8 thoughts on “Criminal Investigation Branch – NSW Police Force

  • can anyone remember chief inspector ted Lloyd?

  • Mick McGann

    Great piece of history of a world class criminal investigation unit. Well done.

  • HOGAN, W. M. Det. 1st/c – should read HOGAN, Wm. [William] Det. 1st/c. William Hogan was the former Superintendent of Police in Western Australia.

      • Hi Cal,

        He is my 3x great-grandfather. I have written a history on him and would be happy to email you documents if you email me.


          • Records sent. Both CAMPHIN, W M Det. 1st/c & HOGAN, W. M. Det. 1st/c should read Wm [William]. William Camphin and William Hogan were assigned together.

    • Rachel Paris

      Hello. I am writing a novel and one of the characters is a detective inspector who works for the NSW CIB. Is there any current or former detective from the CIB that would be willing to speak to me to make sure I get the detail and facts accurate? I am happy to pay for the person’s time. Thanks in advance. Rachel Paris


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *