The great diversity of policing and Police people was on display as the 2024 Woolf Fisher Police Fellows formally received their awards.
Twelve members of staff, constabulary and non-constabulary, from a wide range of workgroups, were hosted at Police National Headquarters by Commissioner Andrew Coster and Woolf Fisher Trust Chairman Sir Noel Robinson.
Among their number was a station support officer, a Custody officer, and staff from Youth teams, Intel, ICT and elsewhere. What they had in common was their dedication and outstanding work, both within Police and in voluntary roles in their communities.
Commissioner Coster congratulated the Fellows and thanked the Trust for its generous recognition of Police and policing.
“It’s an absolute privilege to be with you here today and be able to acknowledge and celebrate so many great people who have done outstanding work...
“To our 2024 Fellows, you must feel incredibly proud as you sit here, in many cases with your families, and no doubt still pinching yourselves as to whether this is real. I can assure you that it is and that your awards are well deserved.
“They reflect your service, your dedication and the excellence you have brought to your work with New Zealand Police and for our communities.”
Commissioner Andrew Coster, Mark Robinson and Assistant Commissioner Jill Rogers all addressed the Fellows.
The Woolf Fisher Police Fellowship Programme was launched in 2017 to provide up to 15 Fellowships a year to staff up to the rank of inspector or non-constabulary equivalent. It restarted last year after a two-year hiatus caused by the pandemic.
The award includes funding for overseas travel for the purpose of studying an aspect of policing, and to cover a holiday element with a partner or family’s travel expenses included.
Candidates are nominated in secret by their peers for the award, which acknowledges both outstanding work and their potential to learn and enhance the work of New Zealand Police through the ideas they bring back.
It is, said Commissioner Coster, “a well-deserved and wonderful opportunity for you to spend time with your whānau, enjoying something different.”
He said Police was incredibly grateful to the Woolf Fisher Trust “for providing this fantastic pathway for our staff”.
Trust Deputy Chairman Mark Robinson – son of Sir Noel – said when trustees were thinking about expanding Woolf Fisher Fellowships beyond their original scope in education, they were unanimous in choosing Police.
“We could not think of a more deserving group of individuals, who give up so much for so many every day to make New Zealand a better place.”
The Woolf Fisher Police Fellowships aim to provide an enduring legacy which recognises hard work, professionalism and dedication, he said.
“We just want to reassure you that there really are no strings attached. I’m sure some of you have asked, as previous Fellows have, ‘What’s the catch?'
"There honestly isn’t one. Travel, enjoy, have fun, spend time with your family.”
Assistant Commissioner Jill Rogers, chair of Police’s Awards Advisory Committee and MC for the event on Friday 15 September, said looking at the nominations for Fellowships was among her favourite tasks: reading about people “who are so often unseen, working in the background on things that make such a difference to our organisation.
“You have been acknowledged by your peers and the beauty of this Fellowship is that you will never know who nominated you. You are not to use your investigative skills … it’s an anonymous process.”
She said she had been humbled to sit with the recipients during their orientation the previous day and listen as they shared their experiences. “You truly are worthy recipients of the 2024 Woolf Fisher Police Fellowships.
“This Fellowship is not just for you as an individual, it’s to recognise your families, your friends and people who have supported you to be able to deliver what you do.
“Through tough times, through fun times, you are the backbone of this organisation. You are what makes us amazing.”
Within Police, the Woolf Fisher Police Fellowships are coordinated by the Organisational Development team with support and guidance from Jill, the Honours and Awards Working Group and Executive Leadership Team.
The 2024 Fellows
Simon Bridgman - Authorised Officer, Waitematā District
Sergeant Philip Grimstone - OC Ōtaki Police Station, Central District
Helen Little - Behavioural Analyst, National Criminal Investigations Group
Kirsten O’Hara - Intelligence Support Officer, National Criminal Investigations Group
Trace Pool - ICT District Services Engineer, ICT
Karen Poutai-Struginski - Youth At Risk Worker, Northland
Eugenie Robinson - Station Support Officer, Tasman
Sergeant Kenny Ross - OC Paeroa Police Station, Waikato
Senior Constable Neil Vartan - Youth and Community Supervisor, Kerikeri, Northland
Senior Sergeant Craig Clark - Youth Services Coordinator, Counties Manukau
Provisional Inspector Andrea Johnston - Principal Advisor, Assurance Group, PNHQ (based in Thames)
Detective Senior Sergeant Sally Patrick - OC Child Protection and Adult Sexual Assault Teams, Eastern