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Police Employee director Susan Roberts.

The new employee representative on the Police Association board of directors. Susan takes over from Tina Dower, who is now the Region 2 director.

Tell us about you and your family

I was born and raised in Ōtepoti (Dunedin). I studied law and psychology at University of Otago and moved to Wellington in 1999. Both my father‘s grandfathers were police officers, so I have a legacy of policing in my blood. I “met” my husband, Phil, in 2014, though I had studied law with him some 20 years previously and lived in the same suburb as him for 10 years. We have one son, Samuel, who is 7.

What are your interests outside work?

I’m a hard-core foodie. I love to do cooking classes and I have an extensive cookbook collection. I am also an ardent supporter of New Zealand-made gins.

What’s one thing people don’t know about you?

My grandfather played cricket for the Black Caps in the 1930s and I have his black cap proudly displayed in the back cupboard at my house (oops).

Tell us about your Police career.

I joined Police in 2005, starting in the (much smaller) policy group, but moving to a policy role with the Police Prosecution Service in 2006. During my time in prosecutions, I’ve been loaned out to projects. For the past six years I’ve been in a strategy, risk and business adviser role in PPS.

Before Police, I was at the Ministry of Justice as a legal adviser. Before that, my first job was as a probation officer.

What attracted you to the Police?

It was a superficial decision to apply for Police – they paid better, and I was single with a mortgage.

Philosophically, I had former colleagues who had joined and they thought I would be a good fit. It seemed a good opportunity to work for an organisation that has a clear and visible purpose, and the trust and confidence (for the most part) of our community.

What has changed?

I’ve seen a lot of change and different focuses. What has been central to the change has been the clearer strategy and vision through Our Business.

What is startling is what has remained the same... the challenges with inter-generational issues, over-representation of Māori in our attendances and resolution, the challenges for frontline police, mental health issues… and being the first point of call for our community. We’ve made some inroads, but that journey is a long and challenging one.

What is your involvement with the Police Association?

I joined the association in 2016. I’ve been a prolific user and advocate for the Police Holiday Homes. They are such an awesome, affordable resource for members to get some quality friend or family time. I was a pay adviser in the collective bargaining for the Grade 20-24 contracts in the past two rounds, and fortunate to sit at the table on both occasions.

What are your key focus areas on the board?

I want to ensure my contribution reflects as many Police employees as it can to ensure the association is doing its best for employees.

What do you hope to achieve while on the board?

I’m all about integrity and fairness and I hope through my participation all members feel their issues are heard and considered. When I joined Police, I felt like a foster child. Tolerated in the family, but not part of it. Now, I’m more of an adopted child – still “othered”, but more accepted. This feeling is no different for many employee colleagues. I want to continue to raise the profile of Police employees. We help make the work of those in blue easier, safer and better and I want to ensure the association is reflecting that as much as it stands forward for constabulary members.

What are your hopes for the rest of 2023?

I’m hoping the Reframe project brings the organisation together more – seeing the value of all employees. I’m looking forward to seeing more meat on the bones of the concept and it delivering positive changes. Personally, I’m hoping to take our son on his first overseas trip.

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