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Detective Sergeant Ash Clements, of Whakatāne, is the Police Association’s new Region 3 (Waikato and Bay of Plenty) director.

In your new role, how do you want to represent members?

I want to ensure I’m available to hear the issues that are important to all members and to lend an empathetic ear while providing the most appropriate advice, direction or assurance.

Are you a true "BOP" man or were you raised elsewhere?

Born and raised in the Bay of Plenty – born in Ōpōtiki and raised in Kawerau. I did study in the mighty Waikato and have worked in Taupō.

When did you join Police and why?

I joined in 2006 after leaving the Royal NZ Navy. I wanted to join Police from school but a senior sergeant in Kawerau told me to get some life experience first (to be fair I had long hair and a Metallica T-shirt on). I joined for the cliched reason of “making a difference”. The Navy wasn’t fulfilling that for me.

What is key to being successful in Police?

Resilience, persistence, being yourself (unless yourself is a twat), and having a great sense of humour. You also need to have something outside of this job to look after your physical and mental wellbeing, and so you can switch off from work.

How has policing changed since you began your career?

It has changed remarkably. While we have more staff than ever, the demands operationally and in administration have increased disproportionately. The workload is greater than ever. Our tolerance to antisocial behaviour has also increased (not in a good way).

You're a detective - what's the best thing about that job?

The variety and the challenges. Our district has a number of lower socioeconomic communities, two of the three towns that are highest per capita for meth consumption and extremely high intergenerational gang membership, coupled with the challenges of policing remote communities. Investigating serious crime is extremely challenging and rewarding, and you get to work with exceptional, talented staff.

If you weren't a police officer, what would you be doing?

Something adventurous or where I get to problem-solve. I have been a service technician and a commissioned officer in the Navy (focused on leadership in navigation and warfare) so would need to be doing something that keeps me both challenged and interested.

Tell us about your family and life outside work?

I have a beautiful wife and three teenage lads. A fair bit of our time is spent running around with after-school activities and seemingly never-ending renovations/landscaping. I regularly go to the gym and enjoy kayaking, bush walks, camping, skiing – basically anything that keeps life interesting.

What is something most people don't know about you?

I have played in a number of bands as a singer/rhythm guitarist including one with the drummer/songwriter for L.A.B. I have also written a number of songs, some of which should stay in the past as they could bring the police (and myself) into disrepute.

What's the most adventurous thing you have ever done?

It’s hard to pinpoint one thing – I have an adventurous spirit and have tried all the usual things such as skydiving and bungy jumping. One unusual thing that got my heart racing was being on deployment in the Middle East and going to a traditional barbershop where the barber used a massive knife to shave under my throat. Given it was during the war, I thought I was being rather trusting – otherwise it could have been one of the stupidest ways to die during a war.

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