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Police Association senior employment adviser and Life Member Steve Hawkins.

The Police Association's newest Life Member is senior employment adviser Steve Hawkins, who was welcomed into the fold at the 2022 annual conference last month.

The former police officer, who served five years in the London Metropolitan Police and 35 years in New Zealand Police, had been a stalwart of the association’s committee and regional structure since 1983 and became the field officer (now SEAD) for Waitematā and Northland in 2008.

Despite his English roots, after serving in Auckland and West Auckland for many years, Steve pretty much considers himself a Kiwi, even a Westie.

His passion for helping his colleagues emerged not long after he joined New Zealand Police in 1975. He was “stuck” in the watch house in Auckland Central, which he describes as a “war zone”, and, thanks to the work of the task force teams, “every Monday morning there were 120 in the cells”.

“Every night there were fights and then there were complaints. The conditions in the station and on the street weren’t good. There was a lot of fighting and injuries. The internal inquiries that happened never seemed to be that fair. That’s why I joined the committee.”

His policing career, which ran in tandem with his association work, took him between Auckland and West Auckland, then to OC at the New Lynn police station when it first opened and finally to OC at Whangaparāoa.

He held a variety of positions on committees in each area and was elected as the Region 1 director, a role he held from 2000 to 2007.

Of particular note was the part he played in organising a busload of members from the North Shore and West Auckland to travel to Wellington in 1990 to join the march on Parliament to protest the erosion of police superannuation benefits. It was a unique event in modern policing with an outcome that has resonated down the decades in terms of the benefits it brought to police officers.

In 2008, Steve left Police to take up his current role, one he had coveted for some time. Now, with the retirement of fellow SEAD Stew Mills earlier this year, Steve is the longest serving SEAD at the association.

He still loves the work and the satisfaction of helping members: “I know how a young cop feels when they’ve been slammed with a few notices about being investigated… I’ve been there.”

Getting into a spot of bother can go with the territory in policing. The good thing, says Steve, is that these days there are proper employment investigations done and everybody understands the process and how it should proceed.

Helping Police staff – young and old – remains a commitment for Steve and was highlighted when he received his life membership award from association president Chris Cahill. He said Steve was well-known as a “wise old owl” who would do anything to help improve working conditions for Police staff.

When he’s not on the road around his district, Steve, who is married to Wendy and has two grown-up sons, one of whom is a police officer in Auckland, enjoys working on his property, getting out in his kayak and admiring his kit car, a Fraser 7, which he has spent the past 22 years restoring. Now that is commitment.

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