This insignia, which was designed and adopted in 1959, is a symbol of the Police Force as well as being the cap badge of the Police Force.
The New South Wales Police Force Insignia displays a crown, signifying Her Majesty’s Government, surmounting the segment containing the New South Wales Crest and the Eagle carrying Nemesis, representing Justice and Law. The Eagle is the Australian Wedge-tail.
Much of the British legal system, which has been adopted by Australia, is based on old Roman laws introduced into Britain by Julius Caesar. The symbol of Rome was the Roman Eagle, thus the eagle here represents the law of the Crown in the Sovereign State of New South Wales.
Nemesis was the ancient Greek Goddess of chastisement and vengeance, and here signifies retribution and justice. Together they represent the British Crown as protector of the people, overseeing law and justice in New South Wales.
The Latin Motto reads ‘Culpam poena premit comes’ which is translated as ‘Punishment follows close on guilt’. (Stevenson’s Book of Quotations, Pg. 1956,Sec15.)
A free translation would be ‘Punishment is a companion pressing closely on crime’, or succinctly, ‘Punishment swiftly follows crime’.
The wreath stands for achievement and victory. This international symbol has its roots in Ancient Greece where the victors of athletic and literacy contests were awarded a coronet of wild olive leaves. The laurel wreath indicated the best and most worthy.