Waikato staff reflect on another shift in Quake stricken Christchurch

Waikato staff reflect on another shift in Quake stricken Christchurch

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Waikato

04 March 2011

An eerie silence is the most noticeable feature for Waikato Police officers as they finish another shift securing cordons around central Christchurch.

Thames Sub-Area Manager, Senior Sergeant Graham Shields is leading a 25-strong detachment of officers assisting Canterbury residents rebuild their communities.

"We've just finished a 12-hour shift securing the inner cordon of Christchurch's CBD which encompasses the Cathedral, PGC and CTV buildings.

"One of the things that stood out the most overnight was the lack of people, the stillness and the sight of tableware and coffee mugs in places like cafes, left where they were put down when everyone fled."

Mr Shields said while all of the team had seen coverage of the aftermath of the 6.3 quake on television nothing could prepare you for the sight up close.

"There's still a lot of things moving about in the wind and risk from falling debris so we've identified areas our staff won't go into or stand under that can be observed from other locations as we don't want to be taking risks with the safety of our staff.

"The general consensus from the troops is that they are in awe of the devastation but are impressed with the resilience of the locals and also by the enthusiasm of the Australian staff we've been working alongside."

There are about 44 Waikato based Police staff in Canterbury assisting with the quake relief operation spread throughout Christchurch, the temporary mortuary established at Burnham Camp and liaising with victims families.

Aside from General Duties officers, who went down to Christchurch on Monday and return next Tuesday, Waikato based Police staff have been involved in fingerprinting, photography, administration, family liaison, administrative and communications roles.

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