Sunday, 1 June 2003 - 12:00pm |
National News

New Zealand Police for UN role in East Timor

2 min read

Ten New Zealand Police officers and four non travelling reserves started training in Wellington today for their United Nations role in East Timor.

Deputy Commissioner Rob Robinson, Operations, Office of the Commissioner, said he was very proud of the staff who volunteered and were then selected for the deployment – the fourth time since 1964 that New Zealand Police have been part of a United Nations civilian policing role.

Previous UN roles included six contingents totalling 79 men sent to Cyprus between 1964 to 1967; 32 staff including three policewomen to Namibia in 1989 for a 12-month posting in the run-up to the elections; five fingerprint experts to Cambodia in 1993 to help determine the authenticity of voting.

Mr Robinson said the Police team to East Timor are all highly experienced staff with backgrounds in general duties policing, the CIB and traffic. Although AOS trained, they will act as advisers to the Indonesian Police in providing a secure environment for the ballot, and supervising the escort of ballot boxes.

The team, all with more than five years service, is drawn mainly from provincial centres and will be led by Inspector Ray Sutton of Rotorua.

The full team is:

Inspector Ray Sutton (Rotorua); Senior Sergeant Steve Mather (Christchurch), Detective Sergeant Peter Burt (Timaru), Senior Constable Wayne Corbett (Nelson), Constable Bruce Davies (Rotorua), Constable Wayne Dwyer (Greymouth), Constable Rangi Maniapoto (Wanganui), Constable Rob Mills (Invercargill), Constable Paul Symonds (Napier), Constable Steve Wills (Timaru).

Non travelling but trained reserves are: Inspector Graeme Cairns (Christchurch), Senior Sergeant Steve Rudsdale (Whangarei), Constable Ian McMillan (Gisborne), Detective Robert Isaac (Hamilton).

Because of the unique working environment and nature of the deployment, members will temporarily be promoted in rank while in East Timor. Inspector Sutton is promoted to Superintendent, Senior Sergeant Mather and Detective Sergeant Burt to Inspector, and the Constables to Sergeant.

Team members arrived at the Royal New Zealand Police College this afternoon for an intensive 12-day familiarisation training period. Topics include:

- health and welfare

- briefings on the role and purpose of the UN mission

- Indonesian language, customs and cultural issues

- communications and equipment maintenance

- off road four-wheel driving techniques

- general administration issues.

Officers will wear a light weight version of their New Zealand uniform. Other changes will be the blue and white UNCIVPOL badge on one sleeve and a black badge with a silver kiwi and the words New Zealand Police on the other. They will also be issued with blue UN headwear.

The team leaves New Zealand on 12 June for acclimatisation training in Darwin and is expected to arrive in East Timor the following week.

"East Timor is a challenging assignment. The UN has wide experience of deploying staff in difficult situations. We will continue to work with the UN and the Australians to monitor the situation.

"The men are all highly trained, versatile, used to working independently and in small teams," he said. "I know they will do an outstanding job."

Mr Robinson said welfare needs of staff and their families remaining at home are critical, and support steps are being put in place should they be required.

Details of where the New Zealanders will work is still unclear but it is expected they will leave East Timor on 14 August.


Released By:

Kaye Calder

Media Relations Manager

Office of the Commissioner