Popular police commissioner Cecil Abbott ‘a man of integrity’

FORMER NSW police commissioner Cecil ‘‘Cec’’ Abbott was remembered as a ‘‘popular and inspirational leader’’ at a funeral service at Penshurst on Wednesday.

Last salute: NSW Police march at Cecil Abbott’s funeral at Penshurst yesterday. Below right, Mr Abbott. Picture: Chris Lane

Last salute: NSW Police march at Cecil Abbott’s funeral at Penshurst yesterday. Below right, Mr Abbott. Picture: Chris Lane

Man of integrity: Cec Abbott.

Man of integrity: Cec Abbott.

Picture: Chris Lane

Picture: Chris Lane

Picture: Chris Lane

Picture: Chris Lane

Mr Abbott, who grew up in Hurstville Grove, died last week in St George Hospital. He was 89.

NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione addressed mourners at the service held at St Declan’s Catholic Church.

‘‘Cec believed that the ideal police officer married academic accomplishment with street wisdom and experience,’’ Mr Scipione said.

‘‘A man of the utmost integrity, he fought tirelessly against corruption. He also put his considerable energy towards modernising the Police Force, investing in training and modern equipment, stressing that criminals don’t stand still, so the police couldn’t afford to either.’’

Mr Abbott joined the NSW Police Force as a cadet in 1941 when he was 16.

He was sworn in as a police officer in 1945 and went on to become the 16th police commissioner, serving December 1981 to August 1984.

The former Hurstville inspector was awarded the police long service and good conduct medal in 1967 and the Queen’s police medal in 1977. 

He also received the national medal in 1982 and was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1985.

Mr Scipione said Mr Abbott was a skilled detective who could communicate with people from all walks of life. 

‘‘From a member of the public or the police officer on the street, through to those holding the highest of office in Australia and overseas, Cec was equally approachable and giving of his time and experience,’’ he said.

‘‘A man of integrity, a man of foresight, who, in his time as Commissioner, proved himself a popular and inspirational leader.’’

He is survived by wife Edna, son Paul and three grandchildren, Jessica, Chloe and Micaela.

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