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NSW top cop defends giving media job after staff tip

NSW's top officer sought help from the police minister's staff to find a new media advisor but insists usual processes were followed before the controversial appointment was made.

Police Commissioner Karen Webb has faced criticism after installing former Seven News journalist Steve Jackson to the role of executive director of public affairs on an interim basis.

The appointment has come under scrutiny due to Mr Jackson's friendship with Police Minister Yasmin Catley's chief of staff, Ross Neilson.

Ms Webb admitted she had asked Mr Neilson, who once ran the NSW Police media unit, for references for the role as she did not have a lot of connections in the industry.

"(Mr Neilson) was an ideal person to ask ... he gave me a couple of suggestions and I followed up with Steve and interviewed Steve," she told Sydney radio 2GB on Monday.

"Then we went through a process where we compared his skills against what we were looking for and so that's how we've landed here."

Mr Jackson was appointed on an interim, six-month basis while a broader recruitment process to find a permanent replacement in the role was completed, she said.

Opposition MPs have suggested the appointment be referred to the state's Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) due to the personal connection between Mr Neilson and Mr Jackson.

NSW Police Minister Yasmin Catley
Yasmin Catley denies encouraging the police commissioner to appoint Mr Jackson to her staff. (Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS)

Ms Catley previously told parliament there had been discussions between her office and that of Ms Webb over the appointment, but neither she nor her staff had encouraged the police commissioner to appoint Mr Jackson.

Premier Chris Minns said the corruption watchdog should not be used as a "knee jerk" response by the opposition.

"To use ICAC as a political hammer as early and as often as you possibly can, I think ultimately undermines the public's confidence in the independence of the commission," he told reporters.

Ms Webb, appointed to the commissioner role under the former coalition government in 2022, also acknowledged her recent missteps in the media and said she was determined to improve.

She has come under fire for her public response to the case of Beau Lamarre-Condon, a serving officer accused of killing two men with his service weapon.

That criticism included being accused of taking too long to front the the media after he was charged, deflecting scrutiny to her deputy and using flippant language to describe the alleged crime.

"Most cops join the police to be in the police force, not to be in the media, and so certainly I can do better and I will," Ms Webb said on Monday.

"(Media appearances) are not my favourite thing, but I certainly know that as the commissioner that's my role and that's what I've got to do.

"I'm happy to work on it, we as a team will get better and I will get better."

Ms Webb's previous media chief was dismissed following criticism of the commissioner's handling of the Lamarre-Condon case.