Australia Day Honours 2016: Canberra police officer recognised for MH17 role

Australian Federal Police Detective Sergeant Yvonne Crozier  said it was an unexpected surprise to be recognised for her ...
Australian Federal Police Detective Sergeant Yvonne Crozier said it was an unexpected surprise to be recognised for her work with the family liaison program. Photo: Australian Federal Police

It was a conversation with the parents of murdered Canberra woman Kathryn Grosvenor that sparked Detective Sergeant Yvonne Crozier's desire to walk alongside families as they faced the unfathomable.

The mystery death of Miss Grosvenor, 23, whose body was found in Lake Burley Griffin in 2002, remains unsolved, but Detective Sergeant Crozier has since made it her mission to help return the bodies of many Australians to their loved ones after tragedy. 

"I dealt with [Kathryn's] parents early on and it's one that still stays with me and I still look around and wonder what occurred," she said. 

"That was really what started my passion for working with victims of crime."

Detective Sergeant Crozier, who started with the federal police in 1994 and is based in the ACT, has been recognised with an Australian Police Medal for distinguished service in investigation and family liaison in this year's Australia Day Honours. 


She leads the Australian Federal Police's team of 56 Family Investigative Liaison Officers across the country, including 10 in the ACT region, who are deployed when a critical incident involving Australians happens overseas. 

Most recently that meant the downing of Flight MH17 in Ukraine, the Nepal earthquake and Germanwings Flight 9525 crash; before that it was the Boxing Day tsunami and memorials for the Bali bombings.

"I think when an incident occurs offshore, families often don't know how to deal with that situation," she said. 

"There are lots of different agencies involved and we act as a single point of truth."

Detective Sergeant Crozier and her team continue to work with the families of 41 Australians who lost their lives in the Malaysia Airlines crash after months spent carefully liaising between authorities, investigators and families through the lengthy victim identification process. 

"One of the most important moments was when we found out all the Australians had been identified," she said.

"It was such a large group of people working on it but we all had one goal – making sure all the Australians came home. 

"It is a sense of relief, it's knowing those families' loved ones have been identified, and it's a sense of relief for the family."

She said family members often differed in how much information they wanted to know about a disaster, but commonly their biggest priority was to get their loved one's body brought back to Australia. 

"I think the most satisfying part of working with the FILO team is bringing loved ones home and helping families through that process.

"They've already heard the most horrible news of their life and how you treat them in the weeks and months afterwards can also have a big impact on their lives."

Detective Sergeant Crozier said it was an unexpected surprise to be recognised for her work with the family liaison program and stressed she was "just a small cog in that big wheel". 

"It's recognition of the whole team over the years since FILO started after the Bali bombings."

Two other AFP members were awarded the Australian Police Medal – Superintendent Mark McIntyre, who helped with mission co-ordination for the MH17 crash, and Detective Sergeant Greg McLeod, for his work in counter-terrorism and national operations.

Former AFP commissioner Tony Negus was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for distinguished service.