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Tracing Police Family Members


How to locate someone who was a Police Officer

I receive many emails from people requesting information regarding family who have served in the New South Wales Police. They are seeking information such as Service Records, Station Postings that he/she may have been at, Ranks they reached and other such questions. This information is not available at the ‘flick of a wrist’, it takes quite some time to track back through records and archives to find the correct information, and in most cases, the Department that this information comes from charges a ‘search fee’ for doing so. The first thing is to write down all the information that you already have regarding the person of whom you are looking for. His/her full name, date of birth, last known address, and if possible the Police Stations he/she may have been at, and the Rank they held.

Next step is to contact the New South Wales Department of State Records either by mail at
PO Box 516 KINGSWOOD , or by phone on (02) 9673 1788 or Facsimile (02) 9833 4518. You can also email them on

There are two reading Rooms. The Sydney reading room is located in the historic Rocks area at: 2 Globe Street SYDNEY, Globe Street runs off George Street and is close to the Nurses’ Walk.

The Western Sydney reading room is located at: 143 O’Connell Street KINGSWOOD. There is ample parking and a well equipped readers lounge. To travel to the Western Sydney Records Centre by public transport, we recommend taking a train to Penrith, Kingswood or St. Marys stations then catching a Westbus Route 790. At peak times throughout the day, these buses leave Penrith railway station every 15 minutes.

The Reading Room Hours are Monday – Friday 9.00 am – 5.00 pm. Saturday 10.00 am – 4.00 pm. and on Sundays & Public Holidays they are CLOSED.

There is no charge for:

  • entry to the reading room
  • inspection of original & copied records
  • applications for readers’ tickets
  • the use of finding aids, PCs, databases
  • assistance by staff, and
  • Archives in Brief.

They also supply certified copies of records at no additional charge to that of copying.

Schedule of Charges for copying of records:

    • Black & white photocopies (A4 & A3) 45 cents per page
    • Print from microform (A4) $1.00 per page
  • Print from microform (A3) $2.00 per page
  • Special format photocopy $2.00 per page
  • Duplication of microfilm $37.00

Payment may be made by cash, cheque or credit card. We accept Bankcard, MasterCard & Visa. A $10.00 minimum applies to each credit card transaction. A receipt will be issued for all purchases.

All prices include GST.

Copying Service:

    • self service copying is available in the reading rooms for microforms
  • they may not permit records to be copied if this is likely to result in their damage
  • a poor quality original will produce a poor quality copy
  • there is no differentiation in fees charged on the basis of the type of researcher for example, professional historians or private individuals
  • there is no discount for large amounts of copying
  • copies will be supplied by mail, providing you can give us citation details that identify the individual record/s you would like copied, and
  • there are no facilities for researchers to do their own photocopying.

Records contain the names of policemen working in both Sydney and country areas. In some instances numbers rather than names of constables are given.

The records that concern police will give you the following information:

    • It is important to note that records of the NSW Police Service do not generally provide the details of a particular police station where a policeman was working. Records will provide with the name of the district in which they were working.
    • Registers provide the following: register number, name, rank, salary details and remarks (this column usually notes promotions, dismissals or resignations).
  • The series is arranged alphabetically by surname and provides: service number, name, mounted or foot, date of birth, physical description, native place, marital status, calling, district, date of appointment and date and cause of leaving the force.
  • The registers also provide details such as: date of appointment, age, physical description, marital status, native country, religion, education, previous occupation and where stationed. They also include demotions, discharges, deaths, and superannuation.
  • Some registers relate specifically to those officers who left the Police Department between the years 1966–80 (some joining the Force as early as 1927). Details provided include: appointment and promotions, personal descriptions, previous calling, examinations, medical history, uniforms and equipment issued, duties, misconducts and commendations, and special abilities and qualifications. They relate not only to police officers but also to Junior Trainees, Cadets, Special Constables, Trackers, Matron, and Parking Police.

Before you can access original State archives you must have a reader’s ticket. Reader’s tickets are issued at both reading rooms. A reader’s ticket is valid indefinitely and may be used to access records at both reading rooms and at their regional repositories.

Anyone over the age of 15 years may apply for a ticket. Applicants under 18 years must have the application countersigned by a parent or legal guardian.

Before being issued with a reader’s ticket you are required to have read and agreed to the reading room rules and procedures and when using State records they also ask that you respect the privacy of, and not cause distress, to living persons.

When applying for reader’s tickets you must show documentation that confirms your:

    • name
  • signature, and
  • address.

An application for a readers ticket requires the collection of personal information. State Records collects this information to: help ensure the protection of State archives; track the issue of records to the reading room; help them understand the uses of State archives and to assist in planning and allocating resources. Personal information may also be used to notify researchers of any change to our services. State Records guarantees the information contained on the application form will only be used for the purposes listed above. Details of the documentation shown to confirm an individual’s personal information are not recorded or kept.

You can also make some inquires at the State Library NSW at Macquarie St Sydney
NSW, Australia 2000 or phone 02 9273 1414. There you can look at the news papers of the year in question and do a name search of the person who you are searching information on. It was the practice of the news papers of that era to report anything that was connected with the police or crime of that day, regardless of how small the piece was. You will find all sorts of information there if you are prepared to search.

You can also contact the Police & Justice Museum at Circular Quay. They have some records available there and will be more than happy to help you or advise you on your search.

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