Western Australia appoints Col Blanch as new police commissioner

The man who announced Cleo Smith was safe and well has been appointed to a powerful new role.Western Australia has welcomed Col Blanch – who broke the news that Cleo Smith was found alive – as the new police commissioner to replace Chris Dawson, who is set to become the state’s governor next month. Mr Blanch, who served as the deputy commissioner for the past three years, was announced as the new commissioner on Tuesday following almost 30 years of police service. He has overseen cases in gang crime, homicide and state intelligence – including the arrest of a sniper who assassinated bikie boss Nick Martin. Premier Mark McGowan said Mr Blanch was selected by a panel of people in public service, academia, emergency services and policing. “Col Blanch has proven himself a leader of integrity who cares deeply about safety of the community and those serving under his command,” he said. “Mr Blanch has been directly involved in shepherding the state through the pandemic and he is well placed to lead the Western Australian Police Force as it confronts challenges of the post pandemic world.”Police Minister Paul Papalia praised Mr Blanch as the “right fit” for the state, with “people knowing what they‘re getting and who’s going to be leading them”. “Mr Blanch has proven capacity in the role of commissioner, having successfully performed extensive periods as acting commissioner in recent years.” she said. Mr Blanch has held several high-profile roles, including chair of the WA State Emergency Co-ordination Group, executive director of intelligence for the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, and Australian Crime Commission state manager for Victoria.Mr Blanch‘s appointment is for five years starting July 15. Originally published as Cleo Smith cop Col Blanch’s next big move