CELEBRATING 40 YEARS OF THE GAMES AND THE FEDERATION
The Victoria Police Games were instigated as a result of the vision of Retired Senior Sergeant Bob Degg who engendered the assistance of Retired Chief Superintendent Bryan Harding.
The Inaugural Meeting of the Victoria Police Games Federation was held at the Police Academy in 1980 where a self-appointed steering committee was attended by 4 interested serving members. Following a feasibility study and months of considerable research, a General Committee was formed in December 1980 and immediate plans were put in place for the conduct of the 1st Victoria Police Games on 28th & 29th March 1981 at the Victoria Police Academy.
With humble beginnings, 7 sports were offered and attracted nearly 1000 competitors. Eligibility was confined to serving Victoria Police Officers only. In following years, the Games evolved with additional sports being added, unsworn staff and retired police officers invited to compete.
In 1983 due to the success of the Victoria Police Games a Sub-Committee was formed with the view of Victoria conducting a National Police Games in 1984. All states and territories were invited to compete with the Victoria Police Games being held in conjunction with the National Police Games. Approx 1000 competitors contested 21 sports.
As a result of the success of the National Police Games strong interest was attracted from New Zealand. Subsequently the Australia and New Zealand Police Games Federation was formed in 1985 with the 1st ANZ Games being held in Sydney in 1986. These Games have continued to prosper and are conducted every 2 years in a different state or territory of Australia or in New Zealand. The Games have evolved and are now conducted as the Australasian Police & Emergency Services Games and attract 3,000+ competitors in 40+ sports. The Victoria Police Games Federation hosted these Games in 1999 and again in 2014.
The Victoria Police Games Federation history and success played a very significant role in influencing the World Police & Fire Games Federation to award Melbourne the responsibility of Hosting the 1995 World Police & Fire Games. These Games were the most successful ever held to that point in time in the history of the World Police & Fire Games attracting 7,000 competitors from 80 countries to contest 60+ sports with 65,000 people attending the Opening Ceremony at the MCG.
Over the years as the Victoria Police Games have evolved there has been a significant expansion of the eligibility criteria. Initially the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, Country Fire Authority, Sheriff’s Office and Ambulance Victoria were invited to compete and join the Games in 1993. In 2002, the Victoria Police Games Federation made the decision to re-title the Games as the Victoria Police & Emergency Services Games. There are now 24 police and emergency service agencies in Victoria that are eligible to compete. Each eligible agency are able to nominate an Agency Representative to represent their agency’s interests at Victoria Police Games Federation meetings.
Over the 40 years since the Victoria Police Games Federation was formed there are many individuals who have contributed to the success of the Games be they Committee Members; Sports Co-ordinators; Agency Reps; Volunteers or Sponsors. It is appropriate that we pause to recognise all who have contributed to the 40 year evolution of “The Games.”
Danny Bodycoat APM