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Chairman, Western Australia

Bernie Durkin

Bernie is the Executive Manager for the Community Engagement Division of the Western Australia Police. Part of this role encompasses the position of WA State Director for NHW.

In 1988 Bernie joined WA Police as a sworn Police Officer then switching to a Public Servant in 2008.

In his current role Bernie manages a team of crime prevention community engagement staff and is extensively involved with NHW at both a State and National level. Bernie is currently the Chairman of Neighbourhood Watch Australasia.

Company Secretary

Margaret Pearson

Throughout Margaret’s career she has made a significant contribution to the voluntary sector by being involved with numerous community organisations including ACT Neighbourhood Watch Association Inc. where she held a number of positions within that organisation and has recently retired from the role of President.

Having lived overseas for a number of years Margaret returned, with her family, to Canberra where she continues to follow her great interest in local and international politics. Margaret is currently the Company Secretary of NHWA.

Australian Capital Territory

Clare McGrath

Clare is currently the Vice-President and Board Member of the ACT Neighbourhood Watch Association. Clare has been an active member of NHW since 1985, primarily in the Ainslie Suburb of Canberra where she has lived since 1962 after moving from Melbourne.

Clare is a self-professed sports lover and a one eyed Hawthorn supporter.

Australian Federal Police

Assistant Commissioner Lesa Gale

Assistant Commissioner Gale’s passion for combatting all forms of human exploitation and maintaining community safety has been admirably demonstrated throughout her entire 33 year career and in 2019 was appointed head of AFP Northern Command and the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation. During her career in the AFP, Assistant Commissioner Gale has combined significant leadership expertise across serious and organised crime and national security portfolios, leading the delivery of business outcomes across AFP Commands in Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane. Assistant Commissioner Gale holds a Graduate Certificate in Leadership and Management and was awarded the Australian Police Medal in 2019.

New Zealand

Eric Tibbott

Superintendent Eric Tibbott assists the Commissioner of Police in driving the development and implementation of New Zealand Police’s Prevention First Strategy in accordance with Our Business.

Fosters a “whole of government” approach to prevention by actively supporting and contributing to the inter-agency development of policies and strategies for community based crime prevention.

Business process owner for the Police Deployment Model (Command and Coordination Centres & Tasking and Coordination) , Harm Reduction (Family Violence, Victims & Youth) and Community (Neighbourhood Policing, Schools & Alcohol Harm Reduction)


Acting Superintendent Steve Collins

Acting Superintendent Steve Collins is a career police officer, with over 37 years with the Queensland Police Service (QPS) he is passionate about achieving positive outcomes for the community he serves. Steve has a diverse policing background with experience in first response policing, crime investigations as a detective, Officer in Charge of various police divisions across the state, project management, patrol group inspector and executive support to the Deputy Commissioner. Steve’s current position is the Commander overseeing the QPS Community Engagement and Internal Support portfolio within the Communication, Culture and Engagement Division. This latest posting is a challenging area focusing on building effective relationships to adopt prevention strategies to address complex social issues associated with crime in our communities.


Peter Edwards BM

Peter Edwards is a former Commander in the Tasmanian Police Service. He has extensive experience across diverse policing portfolios within his home State, as well as national and international law enforcement representation. He has served as a Detective, Prosecutor, Intelligence Officer and Head of Training. Peter is currently the President of Neighbourhood Watch Tasmania.

Chief Executive Officer

Maria Bennett

Maria has extensive knowledge, management skills and leadership experience in both the public and private sectors, working closely with many prominent charities and not for profit organisations. Prior to joining NHWA Maria was Director of a promotions company for 9 years and has had a successful career in corporate sales and marketing roles. Previous management roles in medical and health industries in Australia, New Zealand and Asia, have provided experience in coordination of major projects and exposure to the differing legislative and regulatory environments involved as well as an awareness of the unique physical and social challenges each location brings.

Maria brings great enthusiasm to her role, acknowledging the vital contribution NHWA makes to crime prevention and community safety, as together we deal with many changes and challenges.

Executive Assistant/Project Manager

Jack Clark

Jack is a recent Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice graduate, specialising in youth crime and intervention. He completed his thesis based on the NHWQ survey at the University of Queensland, Jack has come to understand how vital the role of local communities and collective efficacy is in shaping safe and happy homes. He hopes to help in extending NHWA’s reach and engagement across all members of the community and put his criminological knowledge to good use by assisting NHW groups across Australasia.


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