Mick Willing: Detectives speak "for those who can no longer speak". Photo: Danielle Smith

The hallway is festooned with faded, yellow newspaper clippings. ''Killer within'', ''Guilty'' and ''Murder hunt'' are some of the headlines on the wall.

NSW Police homicide commander Mick Willing jumps as he points to an article and exclaims: ''Oh God, that was a good one.'' He crouches down and runs his hands over a front page and says: ''Those guys did a great job locking him up.''

We can't put something in the computer and 'poof' it spits out the offender 

Willing is not just looking back on the year but also cases that detectives have solved since the inception of the squad in 1976.

Stabbed to death: Morgan Huxley.

Stabbed to death: Morgan Huxley. Photo: Supplied

In the rooms that run off the hallway, there are 97 detectives who speak for the dead.

''Everyone here is absolutely dedicated to speaking for those who can no longer speak,'' Superintendent Willing said. ''They honestly feel there is no greater privilege than to investigate the death of someone else because they can't talk for themselves.''

Superintendent Willing walks around the Parramatta office and rattles off some of the cases his teams have investigated. Malcolm Naden, Keisha Weippeart, Michael McGurk and Morgan Huxley, to name a few.

Jailed for life: Malcolm Naden.

Jailed for life: Malcolm Naden. Photo: Supplied

During a lengthy guided tour he refers to his detectives as ''the best'' more than a dozen times.

''My guys are the best. They are the best. They are,'' he said.

There are figures to back up his shameless spruiking.

Mum jailed over her killing: Kiesha Weippeart.

Mum jailed over her killing: Kiesha Weippeart. Photo: Supplied

His detectives solve 80 per cent of cases they assume responsibility for and have the highest case completion rate of any homicide squad in Australia.

This year 239 cases were sent to the homicide squad, including murders, manslaughters, suspicious disappearances, complex coronial matters and critical incidents. At the end of this year they have 134 active cases. The unsolved homicide team, which is part of the squad, has 23 detectives with 730 cases on their books.

There are six homicide teams with each conducting about 20 investigations at any one time. Every six weeks, one team will go on call 24 hours, for seven days. Any suspicious deaths in that shift usually belong to that team until completion. Some teams are known as ''magnets'' and occasionally cases are delegated to other teams. ''It is not uncommon for teams to get three or four jobs in a week,'' Superintendent Willing said.

With each case comes enormous expectations from families, politicians and the media.

''Sometimes the expectations are unrealistic and that's hard,'' he said. ''The guys and girls that work here are humans too and they go home and feel exactly the same as everyone else … they hurt and grieve like everyone.''

Some cases take days, others years. ''We can't go and get DNA results within three hours,'' he said. ''We can't put something in the computer and 'poof' it spits out the offender.''

The pace of the 24-hour news cycle has also added pressure. He wishes he could explain everything the squad was doing, but often cannot for fear of jeopardising the court process.

''It doesn't take too long most of the time to know exactly who's done it and why,'' he said. ''A lot of the time we have very strong suspicions about who is involved, but we need evidence.''

This year the squad has dealt with a number of horrific child murders and an increasing number of organised-crime executions. Although about 70 per cent of cases were domestic related, gang conflicts in south-western Sydney were eating up many investigation hours.

''They are hard. They are long term, [and] people don't talk.''

Superintendent Willing said the work of gun-crime operation Talon, under Deputy Commissioner Nick Kaldas, had achieved great results.

But as long as people had access to guns, the shootings would continue.

''To be honest … most of the shootings are tin-pot druggies shooting each other up,'' he said. ''We have statements from people saying, 'You said something on Facebook which was bad so I'm going to have to shoot you'.''

But despite the code of silence, police arrested six Brothers 4 Life members in November this year over the shooting of fellow member Yehye Amood.

This year had been smooth compared with the ''nightmare of 2012'' when the homicide squad was in charge of investigating seven critical incidents.

And next year?

''I hope we continue pretty smoothly, but I can't help but think that just around the corner,'' he said.

Police watch: the teams keeping a close eye on murder

Team one

Detective Inspector Chris Olen

David Rixon Michael Alan Jacobs was sentenced to life imprisonment in October for the murder of father of six NSW Police Senior Constable David Rixon at Tamworth in March 2012.

Lin family murders Robert Xie expected to stand trial in March 2014 for the murder of five members of his wife's family in their North Epping home in July 2009.

Team two

Detective Inspector Hans Rupp

Morgan Huxley Daniel Jack Kelsall arrested and charged with the stabbing death of small businessman Morgan Huxley in his Neutral Bay unit the early hours of September 8.

Michael McGurk In charge of the ongoing investigation into murder of property developer Michael McGurk at his Cremorne home in 2009.

Team three

Detective Inspector David Laidlaw

Balkan murders Strike Force Calligan detectives investigate shooting deaths of Saso Ristevski and Darko Janceski, and the disappearance of Goran Nikolovski in the Illawarra. Matthew Wiggins and Robert Nikolovski charged with murder of Janceski in January.

Jessica Small Homicide continue to investigate the disappearance of Jessica Small, 15, in 1997.  

Team four

Detective Inspector Grant Taylor

Bryson Anderson Fiona and Mitchell Barbieri committed to stand trial in December for the murder of Detective Inspector Bryson Anderson, who was killed in Sydney's north-west in 2012.

Quakers Hill nursing home murders Roger Dean was sentenced to life imprisonment in August after he was found guilty of 11 counts of murder.

Team five

Detective Inspector Jason Dickinson

Gangland killings Investigations continue into the double murder of Roy Yaghi and Jamie Grover, shot dead at South Wentworthville in August, 2012.

Ned Kelly Jonathon Andrew Stenberg sentenced in December to a minimum 17 years in jail for murder and decapitation of his neighbour Edward ''Ned'' Kelly in June, 2012.

Team six

Detective Inspector Angelo Memmolo

Malcolm Naden After one of the biggest manhunts in NSW history, Malcom Naden was jailed for life without parole for the murders of Lateesha Nolan and Kristy Scholes in 2005.

Kiesha Weippeart Sydney mother Kristi Abrahams sentenced in July to 16 years imprisonment for the murder of her six-year-old daughter Kiesha.