Police officers in the Pacific Islands have new high-visibility vests and jackets thanks to a recycling initiative by New Zealand Police.
Officers in the Pacific Islands often work in old and worn high-vis gear but New Zealand Police’s International Service Group (ISG) and Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police (PICP) are working together to repurpose items from the New Zealand Police uniform for our Pacific neighbours.
International Service Training Coordinator Senior Sergeant Dave Stone says New Zealand Police's current high-vis is not compatible with the new body armour system currently being rolled out, providing an opportunity to reissue the discontinued items.
"This initiative is encouraging New Zealand Police staff to return their unwanted high-visibility uniform for us to reuse in the Islands," says Dave.
“Usually we would take the jackets to the Islands with us when we fly in for work, but due to COVID, hardly any of our staff are going. We are instead putting these jackets in the MFAT Diplomatic Bag to be passed on and the initiative has been well-received.”
The team leader for the Vanuatu Policing Programme (VPP), New Zealand Police Inspector Justin Rogers, says: “The VPP staff who received the high-vis jackets were extremely thankful and have been putting them to very good use.
"A number of the vests were being used by staff when over 30 vehicles were detained on 20 May following a joint operation, known as ‘Operation Klinim Rod’ (Operation Clean Road). Staff were also wearing the vests during a police recruit longest day exercise that started at 3am and went right around the island of Efate."
The following islands have already benefited from the generosity of those who have returned their jackets.
- Cook Islands Police - 75
- Kiribati - 40
- Nauru - 24
- Niue Police - 13
- Tonga Police - 145
- Vanuatu - 90
- Total - 387
“Next to benefit will be Tuvalu who has requested 115 jackets,” says Dave. “We have also had inquiries from the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force for 1,500 jackets and the Marshall Islands for a further 205."