Featured Articles Created by NZPA
- You’ve been involved with the Police Association for more than 25 years. How has policing changed in that time?
In the late 80s and early 90s, policing seemed simpler than it is today. We attended burglaries, did area enquiries, spoke with neighbours. Respect for the team in blue was evident and offenders would know when the game was up and accept a firm but fair approach. Today, technology sees us looking into databases and having information at our fingertips, but one of the biggest risks is lack of respect from a section of the offending community who once knew where to draw the line. They are quick to react, all too often violently. Quality interactions between people are more important now than ever before.
- Where did you grow up and what was your first job after leaving school?
I am a Hurricanes supporter who was born in Palmerston North and grew up in Wellington, attending St Patrick’s College (Town). My first job was with a loss adjusting firm in Wellington. Heading out to look at claims after people had suffered terrible events fed my interest in crime and then an opportunity in policing came along.
- Did you always want to be a police officer?
I suppose the answer is “yes”, but riding motorbikes, playing golf and rugby and fishing as financial pastimes would have been awesome too.
- As the Tasman and Canterbury director, you were closely involved in the welfare response after the Christchurch mosque shootings. How did that affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
March 15, 2019 is etched in my psyche. Everywhere I looked, there were staff with M4s watching and keeping us safe. The courage, dedication and willingness that police have when needed sets us apart. The incredible acts of bravery displayed by many that day truly amazed me. The public support for police and other emergency services was also humbling to see. We get kicked so often. The team effort that finally saw justice delivered in August, safely and appropriately, was great to see. Looking back on that tragedy, I now realise how important it is to share your feelings with someone. Looking after yourself has never been more important.
- You’re a senior sergeant working as a team leader for the Commercial Vehicle Safety Team – what’s the best thing about that job?
Being in a specialist team looking after the South Island in a leadership road policing role. We have a dedicated and talented team who know their stuff. Interacting with key police strategic partners and heavy hitters in the transport sector is challenging and rewarding. One day I might even be allowed to drive a big truck!
- You’ve said you’re keen to nurture a more diverse committee base for the association. What’s the key to that?
We have a growing, younger workforce coming through. Diversity of thought, background, gender, approach and makeup is important to ensure the committees stay relevant and are communicating well. Getting area commanders, managers, supervisors and peers to discuss issues openly and freely is vital. If we ensure people are not afraid to ask questions, we will see courageous conversations and better understanding and support, whatever side of the fence you are on.
- Tell us about your family?
I live in the river town of Kaiapoi, just north of Christchurch. I met my beautiful wife, Alwyn, in 1987. We have two adult children: one lives in Auckland and the other is still in Christchurch. Alwyn has travelled with me in my policing endeavours from Auckland to Christchurch and a few stops in between. We have a miniature sausage dog, Lola, and her nemesis, Ted the cat.
- What do you do in your spare time?
I enjoy sport in general. My rugby-playing days stopped early for me and I took up refereeing. Police sport is always fun. The annual police rugby fixture of Wellington v Hutt in Petone about 1994 saw a few classic plays (some in the rule book, others perhaps not…). Afterwards, the beer always tasted great. Nowadays, enjoying family time, exploring the Canterbury hills and a game of golf take up my spare time.
- It’s been a challenging year, locally and globally. Do you have any advice for members on how to keep positive in uncertain times?
Challenging is an understatement! Our community is hurting on many levels and with policing we need a consistent and fair approach. The public deserve that, and our members have an inherent moral compass that moves us forward. Stay true, back yourself and keep talking.
- If you weren’t a police officer, what would your other dream job be?
Playing golf for a living, travelling the world and then coming home and relaxing with a view of the Southern Alps.
- Bonus question – Who’s the boss?
That easy, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band. If you haven’t realised that yet, watch the movie Blinded by the Light and you’ll get a whole new understanding of musical brilliance.
- Senior Constable Paul Hampton, a family violence safety officer based in Timaru, has been confirmed as the new Region 6 director.