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The Police Association is supporting members and their families affected by the tragedy in Christchurch.

The following is a message to all members from Police Association President Chris Cahill:

Spending time on the ground in Christchurch over the last five days has left me proud and humbled by the extraordinary response from all Police staff.  Their priority has clearly been the needs of the immediate victims and the wider Christchurch community, following last week’s unprecedented tragedy for our country.

This massive, multiphase operation has been made possible because of the selfless commitment and professionalism demonstrated at all levels.

For many in Christchurch, whether they were directly affected or felt the need to come and pay their respects or lay flowers, their first interaction is with the many scene guards who are from all over the country.  They are working long shifts in difficult circumstances and their responses to members of the public have been welcoming and dignified.  They are an admirable ‘public face’ for Police.

Those police and other professionals completing the grim task of victim identification and in-depth scene examinations deserve our respect, along with others tasked with victim/family liaison. It does us well to remember that they are first and foremost fellow human beings who are confronted with sights and situations no-one should ever have to see. The large investigation team working across all levels to ensure no details are missed also deserve our thoughts and respect.

Behind the scenes there are teams of absolute legends looking after staff welfare and associated logistics, and they are doing so with the professional and empathic support of Police management. That support will need to continue for some time from here, and I will be emphasising that to our members and field officers.

In Christchurch I saw first hand how important our field officers are to our members, and I thank them for what they do every day and how they step up in times of great need. I have been proud to witness the respect shown for Catherine McEvedy as she tends to the care and welfare of our members.  As a team, Catherine and association director Snr Sgt Micky McRandle are outstanding.

There is extra focus on those working in Christchurch at this time, and that is fair enough.  However we should not forget all Police staff around the country getting on with business as usual to ensure the public is safe and feels safe at this troubling time.

I’d like to say to all our members, and to those working with them and supporting them, you have every right to feel very proud of yourselves.  Across Christchurch and to all points of New Zealand, there has been strong and well-deserved public support and respect for New Zealand police.

Kia kaha and take care of yourselves and each other.