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Detective Inspector Stuart Mills, a former vice-president of the Police Association and long-serving activist, was made a life member at this year’s annual conference.

Stuart Mills spent 17 years working for the Police Association, starting as an area chairman in Lower Hutt in 1997 and ending as vice-president, a role he held from 2005 until 2013.

After his time as Hutt chairman from 1997 to 1999, Stuart became the Region 4 director (then covering Wellington District, Police National Headquarters and the Police College). At 35, he was one of the youngest members to join the board.

In January 2001, he found himself representing the association at a series of funerals for police plane crash victims in Western Australia.

He represented the association internationally on several other occasions, including working through industrial issues in the Cook Islands.

Stuart grew up in Masterton and, after joining Police in 1987, was posted there for five years. He moved to Lower Hutt CIB in 1992, where he spent nine years, including time as a detective sergeant in charge of the child abuse team and as the lead for serious crime response.

That ran in tandem with his association work, including lobbying over a lack of staff numbers in Wellington, a shortage of properly equipped police vehicles and providing support and advice to members.

He always enjoyed the welfare side of the association’s work and his motivation, as with policing, was to help people.

“Many people still have their police careers because of the support of the association,” he said in 2013, and that was a testament to the core work of the committees, directors and field officers.

He also admired the volunteer work done behind the scenes by the association representatives, saying the organisation would not be the same without its volunteers.

In 2001, he moved to Police National Headquarters as an Interpol senior investigator. Further intelligence appointments followed in 2003 and 2005, by which time he was a detective senior sergeant working on national security. As a detective inspector he coordinated the National Drug Intelligence Bureau for many years and is currently a taskforce leader at PNHQ.

His association service also included stints with the Holiday Homes subcommittee, the Insurances sub-board, the Police Uniform Committee and other administrative committees and support roles.

He spent seven years as the association representative on the Police and Families Credit Union and was particularly proud of how that organisation fared during the global financial crisis.

In 2007, Stuart took on the responsibility of the president’s role for six weeks when president Greg O’Connor was unwell.

He had ambitions for leadership and in 2013 was one of three nominees for the role of president. He said at the time that if he was unsuccessful, he would stand down, which he did. He remained an association committee member, however, so he could continue with his core focus – assisting members.

Stuart is married to Liz and has two daughters.

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