Steve Jackson: NSW Police backflip on move to appoint veteran journalist as PR chief

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Remy Varga
The Nightly
2 Min Read
NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb had faced questions about Steve Jackson's appointment.
NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb had faced questions about Steve Jackson's appointment. Credit: AAP

NSW Police has backflipped on its move to appoint veteran journalist Steve Jackson as the chief spinner for state police commissioner Karen Webb.

Steve Jackson has become the fourth person to be punted from the high-paying and high-powered role after news leaked of his temporary appointment — prompting scrutiny of his role when Seven’s Spotlight interviewed former Coalition staffer Bruce Lehrmann.

A NSW Police spokesperson said on Thursday the force had ceased the temporary appointment of Jackson in the role of public affairs executive director.

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“To best serve the interests of the NSW Police and community, the executive director, public affairs branch needs to be able to fulfil the duties of the role free from external distractions and ongoing media attention,” the spokesperson said.

“The current arrangements for the role will continue for the time being.”

It is unclear if Jackson, a veteran journalist, had started in the role. NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb on Monday told 2GB security checks on Jackson were ongoing.

Jackson was appointed to the top job after Commissioner Webb fired her third senior spinner Liz Deegan on March 13 following widespread criticism of her performance after the alleged murders of Jesse Baird and Luke Davies.

Ms Webb was criticised for taking days to hold a media conference on the shock deaths of Mr Baird, a television presenter, and his partner Mr Davies, a Qantas attendant.

When she did face reporters, her deputy, Dave Hudson, did most of the talking.

Ms Webb was also criticised for describing the alleged murders as “a crime of passion” and making reference to pop singer Taylor Swift when defending her handling of the case. “There will always be haters. Haters like to hate. Isn’t that what Taylor says?” Ms Webb told Sunrise.

Ms Webb later backtracked and blamed her comments on “Taylor fever”.

The top cop also faced allegations police tried to cover up the death of Clare Nowland at an aged-care home in Cooma after police took 36 hours to disclose a taser had been discharged at the 95-year-old grandmother.

Incumbent public affairs executive director Grant Williams left soon after Ms Webb took the top job in February 2022 while former television producer Alex Hodgkinson held the role for less than a year.

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