Simon Overland

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Simon Overland
20th Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police
In office
2 March 2009 – 16 June 2011
Preceded by Christine Nixon
Succeeded by Ken Lay
Personal details
Born (1962-03-19) 19 March 1962 (age 56)
Murray Bridge, South Australia, Australia
Alma mater University of Canberra
Australian National University
Occupation Police officer

Simon Overland APM (born 19 March 1962[1]) is the Chief Executive Officer at the City of Whittlesea and a former Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police in Australia. He previously worked with the Australian Federal Police and then with Victoria Police focusing on Melbourne's gangland wars. On 2 March 2009 he was named by the Premier, John Brumby, as Victoria Police Chief Commissioner. He resigned from this position on 16 June 2011 after intense public pressure from critics who questioned his performance.[2] In July 2011, he was appointed the chair of the Board of Management of the Tasmanian University Union and was responsible for overseeing the direction of the student union.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Murray Bridge, South Australia, Overland was raised in Canberra and gained qualifications from the University of Canberra (Diploma of Legal Studies) and the Australian National University (Bachelor of Laws, first class honours). He played Australian rules football in the ACT Football League for Eastlake, a total of 117 senior games.[3] In 1985 he won the Mulrooney Medal, as the competition's best and fairest player.[4]

Career in law enforcement[edit]

With an honours degree in law and arts, he began his career in the Australian Federal Police (AFP), where he worked in the taskforce which investigated the murder of AFP Assistant Commissioner Colin Winchester. He served about 19 years with the AFP; during this time he was selected by Australia's police commissioners to lead the Implementation Team that created the Australian Crime Commission in January 2003.[5]

In January 2003, Overland was appointed Assistant Commissioner (Crime) with Victoria Police and led the Purana Taskforce on organised crime which is credited with a prominent role in bringing an end to the Melbourne gangland wars in the world of organised crime, which resulted in convictions and lengthy jail terms for underworld figures Carl Williams and Tony Mokbel.

He was the public face of Victoria Police's campaign against organised crime in Victoria and often appeared in the media speaking about the issue. He lamented that the gangland wars have appeared to desensitise the public to violence and was critical of people in the general public who took the view that we were well rid of criminals murdered in the ongoing feuds. He also insisted that criminal figures are still human beings with the right to a fair trial and who should not be murdered any more than should general members of the public.[6]

In mid-2006 he took the position of Deputy Commissioner in Victoria Police.[5]

He was promoted to Chief Commissioner, replacing Christine Nixon, on 2 March 2009.[1]

He faced criticism in 2011 over failings in a police computer system, which did not alert front-line officers to the parolee status of various criminals they interacted with, allowing the parolees to kill six people.[7] He resigned from the position on 16 June 2011.

Crime statistics controversy[edit]

Currently there is an ongoing Ombudsman investigation into allegations that Overland willingly aided in selectively releasing crime statistics to help make the former Labor-based Brumby government appear more favourable to voters when law and order was considered a major political issue.[8]

At present the Ombudsman, George Brouwer, is investigating the interaction between the former government and senior police figures ahead of the release of the crime statistics on 28 October 2010.[8] Even though the Ombudsman's report is still incomplete, it is expected to be critical of the relationship between the Brumby government and police force.[9]

Overland resigned on 16 June 2011, a few hours after the release of a report from the Ombudsman, which criticised the 'misleading' crime statistics he published.[10] It was revealed that he had had a discussion the previous night with the Police Minister, Peter Ryan, who indicated to him that, if he were to resign, his resignation would be accepted. The Deputy Commissioner, Ken Lay, became acting Chief Commissioner, and by the end of 2011 officially Chief Commissioner.[11]

Qualifications and other achievements[edit]

Overland holds the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Administration and Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies from the University of Canberra; and the degree of Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) with first-class honours from the Australian National University.

He is a Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration in Australia and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He was awarded the Australian Police Medal in the Australia Day Honours in 2008.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Simon Overland Victoria's New Police Chief Commissioner". 2 March 2009,
  2. ^ Downsley, Anthony (17 June 2011). "Chorus of approval greets Simon Overland's resignation". Herald Sun. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  3. ^ "Simon says". The Sydney Morning Herald. 3 March 2009. Retrieved 17 March 2015. 
  4. ^ "Overland best and fairest first-grader". The Canberra Times. ACT: National Library of Australia. 18 September 1985. p. 42. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "Simon Overland: an expert on calm" Archived 25 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine. Disability Professionals Victoria
  6. ^ "Overland versus underworld: the police chief in the middle", The Age, 2 July 2004
  7. ^ Ferguson, John (20 April 2011). "Heat on Overland as computer glitch clears way for killings". The Australian. 
  8. ^ a b "Corruption warning over handling of crime stats ". The Age, 4 May 2011
  9. ^ "John Brumby pushed for positive spin before election", Herald Sun, 4 May 2011
  10. ^ "Overland denies he quit over crime stats". ABC News, 16 June 2011
  11. ^ "Old-school policeman takes on 'daunting' job". The Age. Melbourne. 17 June 2011. 
Police appointments
Preceded by
Christine Nixon
Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police
Succeeded by
Ken Lay