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Tim Priest, is a former New South Wales police Detective Sergeant in Australia. He served in the suburb of Cabramatta and led a Police revolt against his Commanders for failing to take action on gang crime and heroin dealing in South West Sydney.
He wrote a book called To Protect And To Serve with Richard Basham about his experiences dealing with the drug trade and the police service.
In 2002 he gave evidence to an enquiry into the crime and drugs ridden suburb of Cabramatta and attracted national and international headlines. His testimony led to the resignation/sackings of the State's Police Minister, Education Minister, Police Commissioner, Deputy and Assistant Commissioners. Major changes were made to the State Police Force and the way that Police now handle gangs and drugs in Sydney
The Cabramatta Parliamentary Enquiry's final report (2002) recommended that the Government adopt some of the initiatives that Tim Priest offered as a means to solving the crisis in Cabramatta. Ultimately the NSW Government adopted the recommendations and the NSW Police implemented them in 2002.
In 2003, he gave a talk at a Quadrant dinner in November 2003 entitled "The Rise of Middle Eastern Crime in Australia" in which he also talked about his experience policing specific Lebanese households, and criticised Peter Ryan and Mike Carlton. However, in 2006 The Sydney Morning Herald, said of Priest's talk: "It has become a celebrated story, told by the whistleblowing former policeman Tim Priest. The trouble is, it isn't true. ... Priest was compressing good detail to make a point, and saw nothing wrong with that... Priest observed "All it did was open the debate because for whatever reason there are a number of people in academia and in the government that did not want to talk about Middle eastern crime".
In the same speech he warned of the consequences of ignoring Middle eastern Crime and pointed to the Sydney suburb of Cronulla as a likely trouble spot involving Mid Eastern Gangs. In 2005 the Cronulla riots erupting over a 48 hour period across Sydney as white youth went on a violent rampage attacking Middle East youths and police in retaliation over an earlier incident at Cronulla Beach.
Endured a long campaign of hateful media articles engineered by former police officers whom Priest had exposed as either corrupt or incompetent. Priest eventually sued The Sydney Morning Herald (twice), Author Chris Masters and publisher Allan and Unwin over various publications. All matters were reportedly settled out of Court with Priest winning substantial payouts and apologies from those concerned.
In 2003 Prime Minister John Howard announced that Tim Priest would be the new Chairman of the Prime Ministers Crime Advisory Group (Sydney) and advise the Coalition Federal Government on Crime Prevention iniatives.
He has written a number of best selling books since 2003 including Enemies of the State- New Holland 2009 and On Deadly Ground- the John Newman Assassination- New Holland 2010'.
A mostly reclusive personality, he sometimes comments publicly on Law and Order issues and the state of his beloved New South Wales Police Force.
Described as a decent and honourable man , Priest is still revered by past and present Police Officers and the citizens of New South Wales whom he so faithfully served.
- Priest, T. & Basham, R. 2003. To Protect and To Serve : the untold truth about the New South Wales Police Service. New Holland, Sydney. ISBN 1-74110-040-2
'Blame Race Riots on Police Force neglect', The Australian, 13 December 2005
' Trouble in the Premiers Patch', The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 January 2006 ' Police too afraid to get tough on our criminals', The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 August 2009 ' The Rise of Middle Eastern Crime in Australia', The Australian, January 2003. 'Report of the General Purpose Standing Committee No.3, (Cabramatta Policing Enquiry) New South Wales Parliament, 2001/2002
- 60 Minutes 2001: the Cabramatta drug problem
- ABC Radio PM - 6 July 2001: Cabramatta drug problem
- 60 Minutes 2005: Tim Priest - factors causing Macquarie Fields riot
- Tim Priest - The Rise of Middle Eastern Crime in Australia