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What is BACKUP for Life?

The NSW Government recognises and appreciates the valuable service offered by former NSW police officers to the community. The importance of ensuring that those who have served the community are supported cannot be understated. Many former NSW police officers transition out of the NSW Police Force facing a broad range of challenges when returning to a civilian lifestyle, in particular mental health issues which can significantly impact on their immediate family. The NSW Government has partnered with NSW Police Legacy to design and coordinate a program that provides appropriate support systems for these individuals. Commencing 2015-2016, a funding commitment from Government of $500,000 provided annually over four years has been made to enable the program.


The primary objective of the project is to design, implement and manage post service support strategies for former NSW police officers and their immediate families.


The project design includes 3 phases:

  1. Design and development of the project
  2. Implementation and coordination
  3. Review and implementation of the strategies for sustainability, including appropriate evaluation and research mechanisms for the continuous improvement of the Project, with a view to making recommendations to Government.

The project is to design, implement and manage post-service support strategies that assist former NSW police officers and their immediate family’s transition into civilian lifestyle by:

  • Engaging an external provider to implement a short term counselling and referral program
  • Establishing a mentoring program
  • Establishing an annual EXPO (exhibition) which provides opportunities for former NSW police officers and their immediate families to access professional advisory services, namely a holistic combination of psychological, physical and emotional support systems, recreation, career and financial advice in the transition from the policing profession
  • Establishing a proactive transitional referral service


Esther Mckay, the BACKUP for Life  Project Coordinator reports to a sub-committee who then reports to the NSW Police Legacy Board of Directors.

The members of the BACKUP for Life Sub-Committee are:

Chair; Inspector Paul Bousfield, Chair of NSW Police Legacy

Inspector Cath Cole, Michael Aalders, Superintendent Gary Merryweather

Ex-Officio Members; Esther Mckay, BACKUP for Life Project Coordinator, Elizabeth Svoboda, Executive Manager of NSW Police Legacy

Reference Group

To strengthen the understanding of the needs within the community of our former NSW police officers and to respond with appropriate services and initiatives, a Reference Group of former police officers and family members was formed to ensure that the program has a solid foundation of consultation and representation.

The members of the Reference Group were:

  • Leisa Doherty
  • Simon Gillard
  • Nicole Graham
  • John Holstein
  • Gary Raymond APM
  • Allan Sparkes CV VA
  • Paul Wynne

© 2013 NSW Police Legacy