The search for Lucas

The search for Lucas

Commissioner Mike Bush

Ngā mihi. I want to thank all members of Police and the Whitianga community who helped search for missing man Lucas Cochrane. Sadly, we didn’t get the outcome we hoped for, and my condolences go to Lucas’ family and friends.

It was moving to see so many people rallying to help, including offering assistance and support to relatives.

I also want to take this opportunity to highlight the professionalism and commitment of our Waikato staff, under the leadership of John Kelly, and the National Dive Squad.  Our staff often work in extremely demanding conditions and don’t always get the public recognition they deserve.

Remembering the fallen

Yesterday was Police Remembrance Day, which is one of the most poignant dates on the Police calendar. This is when we remember all members of Police who have been slain on duty or died as a direct result of performing their duties.

We also remember all serving, former and retired members of staff who have passed away in the previous 12 months.

This year’s commemorations were special because three new names were added to the Memorial Wall at the Royal New Zealand Police College - Constable James Butler, Constable Louis Hekenui Bidois, known as Heke, and Detective Constable Ronald Bernard Hill, known as Bernie.

These officers all died as a result of criminal acts, but they are only now being honoured thanks to the work of the Recognition Project we have underway to ensure all staff killed in the line of duty are appropriately acknowledged.

On Wednesday, the College hosted a private ceremony for the relatives and descendants of James, Heke and Bernie to unveil their plaques on the wall, which now bears the names of 32 fallen colleagues. This was a very moving and at times emotional occasion, and I thank the families for their understanding as to why we’re only just now recognising these officers in the right way.

We also had a very moving ceremony at the college yesterday, attended by several hundred people including Police, relatives, members of our partner agencies and members of the public. We were privileged to be joined by Her Excellency Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy, who took office on Wednesday. The full service can be viewed on the New Zealand Police Museum’s Facebook page.

The Recognition Project has also identified a further two staff who died as a direct result of performing their duties, Constable Cecil Orr and Constable Peter Hart.

My thanks to all those involved in the project for their highly professional and meticulous work.

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