Push to make ex-cop NSW commissioner

Miranda Forster

NSW Police will get two more deputy commissioners under a shake-up aimed at "future-proofing" the force.

The three current deputy positions will be extended to five to include a deputy commissioner for counter terrorism and investigations, and two separate deputy commissioners for field operations - one for regional areas and another for metropolitan areas.

Those three executives will work alongside a deputy commissioner for specialist support and an unsworn executive in charge of corporate services, Deputy Premier Troy Grant announced on Thursday.

Current deputy commissioners, including the head of specialist operations Catherine Burn, will be given first chance at the new roles and there will be a formal recruitment process to fill the remaining positions.

Mr Grant said the changes were part of a broader plan to "re-engineer" the NSW Police Force to ensure more effective allocation of officers around the state and to better deal with threats such as terrorism and the drug 'ice'.

"This is a growth in the numbers on the executive. It is a model that fits with world's best practice for governance," he told reporters in Sydney on Thursday.

Currently around 12,000 of the 20,000 NSW Police employees report to just one deputy commissioner, in field operations, but the state was far more diverse, he added.

"This executive structure is to reflect that, is to make sure that they have the capability for the next 20 years and build on the success of the last," Mr Grant said.

Anyone was welcome to apply for the new roles, including former NSW deputy police commissioner Nick Kaldas, he confirmed, after Labor, the Greens, the Christian Democrats and Shooters and Fishers MPs banded together to demand the premier annoint Mr Kaldas as Commissioner Andrew Scipione's replacement.

"The process is, I advertise the position for commissioner, and those who want to apply, apply," Mr Grant said.

"I don't usurp that process by picking favourites or mentioning names."

The expansion of the executive was "obviously helpful" in finding Mr Scipione's replacement ahead of his impending retirement next July, Mr Grant admitted.

Mr Scipione said the police force needed to continue to progress and get better.

"We are now being given the opportunity to put a team together, a top-level team, to work with the (Police) Association to get this right," he told reporters.

"We need to future-proof the organisation."

A campaign is under way to bring back retired NSW deputy police chief Nick Kaldas and make him the state's next top cop, as the government moves to boost the ranks of the force's top brass.

Labor and several minor parties banded together on Thursday in an unprecedented move to demand Premier Mike Baird anoint Mr Kaldas as the replacement for Commissioner Andrew Scipione when he retires in July 2017.

The unusual push came as Deputy Premier Troy Grant revealed the police executive team will be expanded from three to five deputy police commissioners, with one in charge of counter terrorism and major investigations, and another dedicated to regional field operations.

Under-fire Deputy Commissioner of Specialist Operations Catherine Burn and her colleague, Deputy Commissioner of Corporate Services Dave Hudson, will be given the chance to remain in their positions, Mr Scipione and Mr Grant confirmed on Thursday.

The pair will have first pick at the two new roles if they wish.

The announcement came soon after Opposition leader Luke Foley and MPs from the Greens, Christian Democrats and Shooters, Fishers and Farmers called for Mr Kaldas to be installed as the next commissioner.

"(He's) the best person to provide the leadership the NSW police force needs", Mr Foley said.

Neither Mr Scipione nor Mr Grant would endorse the former deputy police chief as the next commissioner but instead stressed that anyone was eligible to apply.

"I won't be asked for a view (on my replacement), I wouldn't express a view - no commissioner ever does," Mr Scipione told reporters.

"Nick served me as a deputy and did a good job."

Mr Baird blasted Mr Foley in parliament for ignoring the proper process for appointing a police commissioner.

"He has undermined the existing police commissioner, that's what he's done," the premier said.

Before Mr Kaldas's shock retirement in March to take up a United Nations job in The Hague, his main competitor for the top position was Ms Burn.

But now Ms Burn is under a cloud after facing intense public scrutiny - along with Mr Scipione - over the handling of the fatal Sydney Lindt cafe siege, with suggestions Ms Burn should have taken a more active role.

She's also been criticised for not appearing to be aware of the inadequacies in the high-tech surveillance equipment officers relied on during the 2104 standoff.

The siege took place when then-Deputy Commissioner of Field Operations, Mr Kaldas, was on leave.

Ms Burn and Mr Kaldas have a long-standing toxic relationship which was highlighted during a 2015 parliamentary inquiry, which heard Ms Burn authorised the bugging of Mr Kaldas's office on corruption suspicions.