Extra staff already earmarked for Northland

Extra staff already earmarked for Northland

Commissioner Mike Bush

Ngā mihi. There have been a number of homicides and other high profile incidents in Kaitaia in recent months, and that will obviously concern those who live there. We’re working closely with the community to ensure their needs are met and we’re providing extra staff to assist.

It’s not unusual for a number of criminal offences to occur in an area around the same period of time. There’s often no apparent reason for this, and we don’t believe the homicides in Kaitaia are related.

Having said that, we recognise that Northland Police have been kept busy investigating these and other incidents, and we’re putting six extra staff into the district for 2016/17. Additional staff have also been provided to Northland as required this year, just as every Police district can call for support whenever it’s needed.

I’d also like to note that although New Zealand’s biggest methamphetamine seizure occurred in Kaitaia, we don’t believe the drugs were destined for the local market and we don’t think that community has a methamphetamine problem that’s any worse than other provincial towns.

I want to reassure people in Northland that we’re listening to their concerns and responding to their needs, as we do with all the communities we serve. We’ll continue to work closely with the Kaitaia community, iwi, and other agencies to address the wider social issues that contribute to the drivers of crime.

Above and beyond

Congratulations to the five officers who were this week named as recipients of New Zealand Bravery Awards. This is a great acknowledgement of the courage these officers have shown in putting the safety of others before their own.

Senior Constable Blair Spalding and Constable Ben Turner receive the New Zealand Bravery Decoration for confronting and helping to arrest a man armed with a shotgun at a Hamilton supermarket carpark on 25 August 2014.

Sergeant Ryan Lilleby and Sergeant Chris McDowell receive the New Zealand Bravery Medal for their part in subduing and arresting an aggressive offender who was armed with two knives during a family violence callout in Papatoetoe on 27 July 2014.

Senior Constable Deane O’Connor, recently retired, receives the New Zealand Bravery Medal for rescuing a man from a strong current and tidal flow in Tauranga Harbour on 12 August 2013.

These incidents are all notable for the officers putting themselves in harm’s way to protect others and save lives.

Six civilians also receive bravery awards in the list announced on Monday. My thanks and congratulations to them for their deeds.

The march of history

One word springs to mind when it comes to the parade through central Wellington on Monday to mark 75 years of women in Police: Awesome.

It was awesome to see so many of our current and former staff – around 800 at least – showing their pride in our women officers and the huge contribution they make to what we do. And as I walked with the parade, it was awesome to see the huge support we have from the public and to hear their encouragement for Police in general and women staff in particular.

Well done and thanks to everyone involved in ensuring this important milestone in the history of our organisation and our country was celebrated in style.

And remember, if you or someone you know is looking for a challenging and rewarding career, then check out our recruitment website.

Tragedy on the roads

Our condolences are with the families of those who died in road crashes this week. Each of those deaths is a tragedy that will be deeply felt by the victims’ loved ones, and we’re doing everything we can to support them.

I’d also like to thank all staff involved in the police response. Attending road crashes and informing loved ones of deaths are among the worst things we have to do, and responding to the Bay of Plenty crash in which five men died would have been particularly difficult.

With wet and wild weather coming up this weekend, and several weeks of winter still ahead of us, it’s worth reminding people how important it is to drive to the conditions and to have a thought for others using the roads.

That’s all for this week. Until next time, stay safe - and go the Hurricanes!

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