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This month's Police News is, not surprisingly, very much focused on the October annual conference.

The stories and photos in this issue give a good account of the conference business and achievements.

October marked my first year in the job as President. It was a time for me to reflect on the external political nature of my role, along with the internal workings of the business, industrial, welfare, member services, legal and communications teams that work to ensure the best for all our members.

It has been a productive year, particularly with the board of directors adopting a new strategic plan that identifies key areas for growth to meet the needs of an increasing membership.

A new management structure will lead the strategy and, mindful of our potential, the conference adopted a new constitution that better reflects who we are and where we want to go.

The conference theme was “Resilience Matters”. Under this banner we addressed the demands of modern policing and identified tools for building the resilience needed to meet those requirements.

Keynote speaker Dr Tom Mulholland pulled no punches in his real-life, down-to-earth and often very funny advice on how to do the job and stay out of the emergency department. His focus on healthy thinking and maintaining a positive attitude resonated with delegates and left them with some clear messages to take away.

The conference was not just about talking. The Association has fully funded a wellness app called Equipt, which we launched at the conference in partnership with Police. The app offers simple, self-initiated checks that help members to gauge their stress levels and identify when they need to address concerns.

Equipt is available for download from app stores to private iPhone and Android phones, and will soon be approved for download to all Police-issued phones. I encourage every member to take advantage of this and recommend it to whanau.

In the vice-president elections, voted on at the conference, there were five strong candidates for two positions.

Congratulations to Craig Tickelpenny and to Marcia Murray, whose election is a positive step towards the diversity sought by our organisation.

The most poignant moment of the conference was the awarding of the Police Association Bravery Awards.

Sir Brian Lochore, who presented the awards, did a splendid job of acknowledging the outstanding bravery of the two recipients, Senior Constable Ross Andrew and Constable Darren Critchley. Their selfless acts of bravery showed how quickly a routine day can change for a police officer. As colleagues, you can be very proud, as should all New Zealanders, knowing we are served by such people who risk their own lives to save others.

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