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Left: The Police Association’s Hawke’s Bay committee praised Gary McFadyen’s enthusiasm, influence and “monumental” contribution in nominating him for a Bill Murray Award; Right: North Taranaki’s Vaughan Watson with his Bill Murray Award, recognising Vaughan’s many years of passion, guidance and support for fellow members, and president Chris Cahill.

The dedication of two Police Association advocates has been acknowledged this year with Gary McFadyen, Hawke’s Bay, and Vaughan Watson, New Plymouth, receiving the NZPA Bill Murray Award for outstanding service.

Both men have had notable Police careers alongside their long-standing commitments to the association.

Gary, a custody sergeant in Hastings, first joined the association there in 1987, having begun his Police career in Whanganui in 1984.

He quickly assumed consecutive office holder roles where he showed his mettle as a union advocate, going in to bat for all staff and holding management to account on the collective agreements.

He has never been shy about openly calling out the Police executive, including on issues such as national PST staffing, and the merger of Napier and Hastings into one area, and he was instrumental in the campaign to improve the woefully inadequate conditions at the Hawke’s Bay (HB) custody unit.

The HB committee reports that in 1998 he was one of the main organisers of the HB contingent’s March for Pay, when police went to Parliament. In 2000, as secretary, he wrote to Prime Minister Helen Clark telling her the committee disapproved of a comment she made in reference to the Waitara shooting, that police should “shoot to wound”, and he raised the issue of name suppression for officers in such cases. He took on her MPs too, highlighting shortfalls in HB police numbers.

His interactions reverberated with passion and “direct terminology”, with his strong views on fair representation and executive responsibilities resulting in the HB committee’s concerns reaching a wide audience.

Gary was also the driving force behind the switch from a seven-night roster to the 2+2+2 progressive roster for HB PST.

The HB committee is full of praise for Gary’s enthusiasm, influence and “monumental” contribution to the association membership.

The same vein of admiration runs through the Bill Murray nomination from the North Taranaki committee for recently retired Police veteran Vaughan Watson.

Vaughan joined the association as soon as he signed up with Police in 1976, serving in Whanganui, Waverley, Hāwera and New Plymouth in roles ranging from sole-charge stations to training, OC positions and as a long-serving OC of the Taranaki AOS.

He was a sworn member until February 2002, when he resigned at the rank of sergeant, “had a weekend off”, and returned as a Police employee arms officer.

Vaughan was always considered a great source of knowledge on all things police, drawing on his varied roles and his time as a North Taranaki (NT) committee member, chair and delegate and as a pay round negotiation team adviser.

Current chair Lewis Sutton says Vaughan’s support for staff who found themselves involved in critical incidents, and his knowledge of the processes involved, was invaluable to the committee and the wider association. “We could not have had a more tenacious advocate,” he says.

Vaughan provided significant support to “Officer A”, after the shooting of Steven Wallace in Waitara in 2000, and, later, to officers involved in the Ngamotu Golf Club shooting of Adam Morehu.

Eastern and Central Districts field officer Kerry Ansell says that, during his early days in the job, he was grateful for the guidance provided by Vaughan, especially when Kerry was dealing with his first critical incident.

“To be honest, I felt I was a bit out of my depth and without his reassurance, I may well have struggled.”

Kerry recalls that Vaughan “ran a pretty steady committee” and was always a proactive voice for the association and a good planner.

“When he stepped aside from the role, he had a ready successor in place and the committee hasn’t missed a beat.”

Outside the policing sphere, Vaughan has a long-standing interest and involvement with the Taranaki Racing Club, of which he is chair, and the Taranaki Sport Fishing Association.

Vaughan and his wife, Fiona, are association Holiday Home caretakers and, as Welfare Fund manager Pete Hayes recalls, it was Vaughan’s local knowledge that helped secure a vacant site for New Plymouth’s first Holiday Homes in the mid-2010s.

Gary and Vaughan were presented with their awards last month.

The Bill Murray Award

Bill Murray was the first elected president of the New Zealand Police Association in 1937, having been the principal spokesperson for police delegates who had met the Police Minister Peter Fraser at Parliament in 1936 with the ultimately successful aim of forming an association. He remained in Police for 38 years, retiring as the Auckland District superintendent in 1959 at the age of 64.

The award bearing his name is presented to members of the Police Association who have made an outstanding contribution to the organisation over a prolonged period of not less than 10 years. The nominees must have distinguished service in either a local or national capacity.

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