Policing the force in support of the mission

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Will Singer (author), ABIS Richard Cordell (photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Stirling

The first Able Seaman Naval Police Coxswain (ABNPC) at HMAS Stirling, ABNPC Nichole Stephenson, uses a radar gun to check the speed of vehicles coming on to the base. (photo: ABIS Richard Cordell)
The first Able Seaman Naval Police Coxswain (ABNPC) at HMAS Stirling, ABNPC Nichole Stephenson, uses a radar gun to check the speed of vehicles coming on to the base.

As part of a recruitment initiative to broaden the Naval Police workforce, Navy members will now be seeing Able Seamen on the beat.
Able Seaman Naval Police Coxswain Nichole Stephenson is fresh out of training after initially joining the Navy to be a Cryptographic Linguist.
She is one of four Able Seamen who are now part of the team that helps uphold the discipline of the Services.
Whether ashore or at sea, no day is the same for those who assist in delivering a security capability in Australia and overseas.
“Joining the branch stemmed from a volunteering background in public safety, fire brigade and State Emergency Service resulting in regular police force liaison further sparking a career in the policing aspects of Navy,” Able Seaman Stephenson said.
The role of a Naval Police Coxswain varies significantly between being ashore and at sea but all contributes to ‘Policing the force in support of the mission’.
“While ashore, my job at HMAS Stirling involves policing and public safety like speed detection, random breath testing, prohibited substance testing program and investigation,” Able Seaman Stephenson said.
“A big part of our role at sea is about seamanship, navigation, whole ship coordination and providing advice on security and force protection.
“We are an integral part of the ship’s community and function as part of the warfighting capability,” she said.
Able Seaman Stephenson served in one of the Navy’s largest vessels, amphibious assault ship HMAS Canberra, during the Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2016 - the world's premier maritime warfare exercise.
“RIMPAC was interesting because I was in Canberra undertaking sea familiarisation training, and had a go at the helm driving Navy’s flagship around the Hawaiian waters,” Able Seaman Stephenson said.
“My biggest challenge in my role is keeping updated on ever-changing policy and legislation.
“When facing adversity, I like to step back, look at what my part of the Navy is and relate this to our mission – to fight and win at sea.
“I look at the big picture which motivates me to look at defining the problem and all options to get through the issue and execute my family’s motto - ‘just get on with the job’.
“I have a very strong Defence heritage and I have always been interested in serving,” Able Seaman Stephenson said.
Her great-grandfather fought in the Australian Army and was shot at Lone Pine, Gallipoli.
“Navy provided the evacuation, got him back home, and if it wasn’t for that I may not have been here today.
“Having just arrived in Stirling I look forward to reading history, exploring the Western Australia’s rich geological heritage and trying different sports like fencing.
“I find enjoyment in balancing my social life with volunteering in the community,” she said.
The category is looking to train up to 40 students this year.