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Australian Federal Police

Last modified: 2019-11-10 by ian macdonald
Keywords: australian federal police | sillitoe tartan | star: 7 points | star: faceted | crown | wreath | coat of arms: australia | bicolour: black-white |
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[Australian Federal Police flag] image by Herman FMY, 21 May 2006

See also:


The Australian Federal Police website has an article on their flag.

The following text accompanies the flag image on the site:

"The flag of the Australian Federal Police was first adopted in 1981 and is flown on buildings housing elements of the Australian Federal Police.

The flag is predominantly black (hoist and fly) with its centre third a white vertical panel on which is placed the badge of the Australian Federal Police. The badge is based on the Commonwealth Star, the Crown and the Commonwealth Coat of Arms. The flag has, on all four edges, a narrow black and white chequer (Sillitoe’s Tartan) commonly used to represent police services around the world."

On another page, the description and symbolism of the Australian Federal Police badge is provided as follows:

  • The crown symbolises Royal Authority.
  • The wreath symbolises the courage needed for police duty and the courage shown by officers killed in the course of duty.
  • The Coat of Arms represents the Australian Government and people.
  • The seven pointed Commonwealth Star represents the States and Territories, and that police are prepared to travel in whatever direction necessary to conduct their duty.
Herman FMY, 21 May 2006

The text Herman quotes is virtually the same as that in the Commonwealth Government publication Australian Flags (1998) [ozf98]. This publication shows the flag of the Australian Federal Police, although with the following difference, that the whole of the badge is a black and white line drawing, although the publication is in full colour.

Further, there appears to me at least to be some doubt as to whether the Sillitoe Tartan is black and white or blue and white. The same AFP web site, quoting from and listing another web site as its source, states that it is black and white, but the source itself quoting originally Sir Percy Sillitoe " Another small innovation which was, I think, welcomed, was the fitting of the blue-and-white diced bands around the peaked caps of the police officers."
Colin Dobson, 21 May 2006

According to this site (which is quoted by the Australian Federal Police site), the Sillitoe Tartan has it's heraldic origins as three rows of blue and white boxes, but says that Sillitoe introduced the pattern to police hats in black and white. The quote mentioning blue-and-white diced bands, unlike the rest of the material on the AFP page, is not sourced. A google search for "Sillitoe Tartan", gives pages falling mainly into two categories: those that mention black and white, and Australian references to blue and white.
Jonathan Dixon, 23 May 2006

In Australia the police forces of the states and the Northern Territory use a blue and white Sillitoe's tartan, the Australian Federal Police use a black and white tartan. Presumably this helps to differentiate state from federal police. The federal police also provide policing services in the other territories, and still use the black and white Sillitoe's tartan in these locations.
Jeff Thomson, 10 November 2019

Parade flag

At the National Police Memorial ceremony, the Australian Federal Police paraded a flag similar in design to the general-use service flag above. The parade flag had additional white cords and tassels however. Reference photo: No. 31 by Mike Combe
Herman FMY, 26 February 2007

Lance pennon

Having looked at the National Police Memorial photos website, I can now summarize the patterns of lance pennons used by mounted police in each Australian state and territory:
Australian Federal Police: black above white. Proportions 1:3; swallowtail 2/3 the pennon length.
Miles Li, 13 March 2007

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