Friday, 3 May 2024 - 1:07pm

Cogs in the wheels of justice

4 min read

News article photos (1 items)

Detective Constable Sam Cates and her dogs Buck and Hunter.

From the front line to the back office, Ten One talks to two members of staff with very different roles whose teamwork makes the dream work - even if they've never met.

When an officer on the frontline presses the button on their virtual paperwork, what happens next?

Developments in mobile technology over the past decade or so have made it easier than ever for busy frontline officers to record and report – but there still needs to be a human at the other end to process what they submit.

Here we talk to two members of staff with vital roles in the process which keeps the wheels of Police turning - Detective Constable Samantha (Sam) Cates and Kyrie Gausden, of Transcription Services...

Samantha – Sam - Cates is based in Waitematā District Headquarters in Henderson.

A graduate of the 313 Helene Quilter Wing in 2018, Sam worked in hospitality - bars and restaurants - while studying criminology and education at university. She joined Police after graduating with her bachelor’s degree and hasn’t looked back.

She moved to the Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) in August 2023 and works on Crime Squad in Waitematā.

Head and shoulders photo of Detective Constable Samantha (Sam) Cates in uniform

The area she and her district colleagues cover includes the North Shore all the way out east, then to Piha in the west and up to Dome Valley in the north.  It is considered one of the largest policing jurisdictions in New Zealand. 

She enjoys working on Crime Squad. The team manages more serious scenes, property from serious incidents, statements and victims – the mahi is usually a step up from what can be done by the first responders or PST staff.

“We are constantly on the go, completing tasks for various investigation files that we pass on, filing everything through the Investigation Management Tool (IMT) system. 

“We follow a 2, 2 and 2 roster and are under the direction of the detective sergeant on duty before the files get passed on to the General Squad or other relevant squads for follow up, for example Child Protection Team (CPT) or Adult Sexual Assault Team (ASAT).

“I like the variety - it’s so interesting and I feel like I am learning a lot – getting a good grounding in basic detective work."

It was something of a chance encounter that put Sam on the CIB path.

“I’d been working for a week after (recruit) graduation and a detective tracked me down in the muster room and said, ‘Your formal written statement is exceptional – you have to consider joining CIB’. 

“I was shocked, but embarrassed, but that got me thinking. I still have no idea to this day who that detective was, but he was no doubt responsible for me making the move to CIB.” 

To get paperwork such as statements done faster, frontline Police staff can use the dictation tool Winscribe. All work is received via the 24-hour ‘anywhere, anytime’ Winscribe dictation service, or sent to the national mailbox for actioning. And then…

Transcription officer Kyrie Gausden, off duty with her horse Duet. 
Transcription officer Kyrie Gausden, off duty with her horse Duet.

When a frontline officer like Sam pushes the ‘send’ button on a Winscribe request in the Tāmaki Makaurau area, it may end up with Transcription Officer Kyrie Gausden or one of her teammates.

Kyrie - pronounced Ki-ree-ay - is based in Counties Manukau. She sometimes works in the Transcription Service office at Piki Ki Te Ao, but mainly works shift work from home close to the border of Waikato and Counties Manukau districts.

Her job is to transcribe anything from job sheets to 258s to statements. The files range from homicides and rapes to robberies and missing persons – everything that Sam and her colleagues may have to do daily.

Head and shoulders photo of Transcription Officer Kyrie Gausden.

“I grew up living next door to my cousins and my uncle was a tow truck driver,” Kyrie says.

“Due to him working closely with emergency personnel, I grew up with a positive perception of the Police and what they do, and I have always wanted to be a part of it.”

She has a Legal Executive Diploma and worked as a legal secretary for many years. “That secretarial experience has been very useful and the confidentiality aspect is vital in law.

“I applied for and was accepted for a Transcription Officer role with New Zealand Police in 2020, and by March that year I had the job.

“But because of COVID-19 and the move into full-time lockdown, I moved to my home office in April 2020, where I have worked ever since apart from the occasional day at the office.”  

She says she does not feel isolated working shifts from home, as her teammates are always available online – “and my dog keeps me company.

"I love the life work balance of being able to spend time with my elderly mother and ride my horses in the local forest during the week, avoiding the weekend rush.

“I absolutely love my job and am so happy being part of Police. I am not ‘just a typist’ but an important cog in the wheels of justice and I know what I do helps the work that someone like Sam does in her role." 

It's teamwork - even when, as in this case, members of the team have never met.

"It’s part of the process – we are part of a team,” says Kyrie.   

Sam agrees. “It’s a good process – and Transcription staff are valuable assets to Police. We really can’t work without each other.”