Ken Lay (police officer)

Kenneth Douglas Lay, AO, APM (born 17 February 1956) is a former Australian police officer and Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police from 2011 to 2015.[1] He was Lieutenant-Governor of Victoria from November 2017 to November 2021.[2]

Ken Lay
14th Lieutenant-Governor of Victoria
In office
9 November 2017 (2017-11-09)  12 November 2021 (2021-11-12)
MonarchElizabeth II
GovernorLinda Dessau
Preceded byMarilyn Warren
Succeeded byJames Angus
21st Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police
In office
14 November 2011  31 January 2015
GovernorAlex Chernov
Preceded bySimon Overland
Succeeded byGraham Ashton
Personal details
Born (1956-02-17) 17 February 1956
Korumburra, Victoria, Australia
Alma materMonash University
OccupationPolice officer

Early life

Lay was born and raised in the town of Korumburra in Victoria's South Gippsland region.

Police career

Lay joined Victoria Police in 1974, serving in Melbourne at Prahran before being stationed in regional Victoria including as an Inspector in his home town.[1]

In 2003, Lay was appointed chief of staff to Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon, then promoted to Assistant Commissioner for North-West Victoria in 2005, Assistant Commissioner (Traffic and Transit Safety) in 2008. In 2009, he became Deputy Commissioner (Road Policing)—Victoria's top "traffic cop".[1]

In October 2009, Lay was photographed by a speed camera driving 10 kilometres per hour (6.2 mph) over the speed limit through the town of Tooborac. He kept the speeding offence under wraps due to concern about undermining a Christmas road toll campaign, but admitted his error to Chief Commissioner Simon Overland. Lay announced the speeding offence publicly in January 2010.[3]

When Overland resigned as Chief Commissioner in June 2011, Lay was made Acting Chief Commissioner. On 14 November 2011, Premier Ted Baillieu and Police Minister Peter Ryan announced that Lay had been formally appointed as Victoria Police's Chief Commissioner.[4]

On 29 December 2014, Lay announced he was resigning as Chief Commissioner due to his wife's illness. His resignation formally took effect on 31 January 2015; however, he took leave between the announcement and his formal resignation. Deputy Chief Commissioner Tim Cartwright acted in the role until Graham Ashton was appointed as the new Chief Commissioner.[5]

Family violence work

Upon his resignation, Lay was recognised for his contribution to raising awareness of family violence and the destructive attitudes of some men towards women. Senior Sergeant Ron Iddles, the Secretary of the Police Association, commented that "putting family violence on the front page would be Lay's legacy" and "because of his attitude, we now have a Royal Commission which will look into family violence.[6] The Premier commended Lay for "both his advocacy for the prevention of family violence and in challenging all men to call out inappropriate behaviour against women[7] The Police Minister, Wade Noonan observed that "central to his (Lay's) proud legacy will be his action on Family Violence. He, above all others, put this squarely on the public agenda.[7]

In a speech to Parliament, the Police Minister said, "Ken's willingness to place himself at the centre of our community's quest to prevent family violence and violence against women will be his most enduring legacy. He called men to account for inappropriate behaviour towards women, and his advocacy led to Labor's commitment to establish Australia's first Royal Commission into Family Violence".[8]

Post police career

On 28 January 2015, Lay was appointed as the Chair of the Council of Australian Government's Advisory Council on Family Violence.[9] Later that year he was appointed as the Chair of the Prime Minister's Ice Taskforce.[10] In 2016 he was appointed to the Board of the Essendon Football Club.[11]

Until September 2016 he was a Director of the Greyhound Racing Board after the previous board stood down shortly after a widely publicised "live baiting" scandal.[12] He was appointed to the Board of Dixon Hospitality (DHL) in 2016[13] and as Chair of the Ambulance Victoria Board in January 2016.[14] In 2018, he was appointed as a Director of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator.[15]

Lay was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws by Monash University in 2015.[16] In 2017 Lay was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to law enforcement as Chief Commissioner of the Victoria Police, through structural reforms to recruitment, training and deployment, and to social and community leadership.[17]

On 9 November 2017, Lay was sworn in as Lieutenant-Governor of Victoria by Governor Linda Dessau, following the retirement of Marilyn Warren as Lieutenant-Governor and Chief Justice of Victoria.[2]

Honours and awards

Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) 26 January 2017 Australia Day Honours. For distinguished service to law enforcement as Chief Commissioner of Police in Victoria, through structural reforms to recruitment, training and deployment, and to social and community leadership.[18]
Australian Police Medal (APM) 11 June 2007Queen's Birthday Honours.[18]
National Police Service Medal
National Medal & Bar [18]


  1. Peter Munro (19 November 2011). "The boy from Korumburra grows up into a quiet achiever". The Age. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
  2. "Former top cop scores new role". New Corp Australia. 9 November 2017. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  3. Anthony Dowsley, Antonia Magee (15 January 2010). "Police Chief Commissioner Simon Overland backs top traffic cop Ken Lay after revelation of speeding offence". Herald Sun. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
  4. "Victoria gets new top cop". ABC Melbourne. 14 November 2011. Retrieved 25 June 2020.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. Spooner, Rania (29 December 2014). "Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay steps down". The Age. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  6. The Age29/12/2015 Rania Spooner
  7. Media Release, The Premier of Victoria 29 December 2014
  8. Hansard 25/2/15
  9. Ballarat Courier 28 June 2015
  10. Herald Sun 7 April 2015
  11. EFC Website December 2015
  12. Herald Sun 11 March 2015
  13. The Australian 4 February 2016
  14. Premier of Victoria Media Release 30 September 2015
  15. Queensland Transport Minister Media Relaease 24 September 2018
  16. "Alumni News". Monash University. 12 May 2015.
  17. "Officer (AO) in the General Division of the Order of Australia" (PDF). Australia Day 2017 Honours List. Governor-General of Australia. 26 January 2017. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 November 2017. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  18. Australian Government, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. "LAY, Kenneth Douglas". It's An Honour. Retrieved 11 April 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
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