The New Zealand Police has launched an innovative campaign to attract qualified young people to join its force and help in making communities safer and more secure.
Although the past few years have witnessed a few people of Indian, Pakistani and Sir Lankan origin successfully becoming commissioned officers, the rise in ethnic population, especially of Sub-Continent and Chinese origin, has raised the need for a more culturally diverse Police Force.
Acting Commissioner Viv Rickard said the new campaign, targeting youngsters in the 18-25 age group was inspired by the heroic actions of police officials in their everyday jobs.
“It was also partially inspired by many youngsters who came together to help people affected by the Christchurch earthquake. Their actions were heroic too, and those are the sort of people we need in the Police.
“There are many young people keen to help their community, and this initiative aims to inspire them to think about a police career in a different light,” he said.
Popular artist Otis Frizzell designed the artworks depicting the experiences of police officers on duty.
The artwork in Wellington (Left Lane off Cuba Street) tells the story of Detective Kylie Schaare in a protector role of a young child. At night, a light projection cast the shadow of an offender advancing on the child.
“The unique thing about dealing with children is that they often don’t have a voice. Police help to give them a voice – to protect them and stand up for them,” she said.
“It is not all about muscle. We need people with good communication skills, compassion, intelligence, and leadership qualities. We also need young people with different ethnic backgrounds who can speak different languages,” she said.
Assistant Commissioner Allan Boreham said the artwork installed on the corner of Day Street and Karangahape (K) Road in Auckland (with the consent of the City Council and owners of the concerned properties) is a part of a nationwide initiative to recruit young officers.
It shows a three-dimensional, high adrenaline foot chase. The two officers (Constables Julia Vahry and Madeline Roberts) are seen performing a pincer movement from both ends of an alleyway to apprehend a fleeing and violent offender.
“Telling extraordinary stories through street art allows us to challenge young people to think about becoming an officer in a new way,” Mr Boreham said.
He said the campaign was designed to motivate the younger generation to become qualified police officers.
“Young people have many career paths open to them. Those who are motivated to help their communities often pursue positions in education and health. Many young people, especially women, who would make excellent officers sometimes overlook the Police as a career choice. We are trying to change that perception,” he said.
Constable Vahry, a General Duties Officer in Auckland City, thrives on the excitement of a police career. She said it was her ability to communicate and gain the trust of those around her that gives her an edge in most situations.
“For example, with a domestic violence case, soft skills help to get to the heart of the issue faster. If you build rapport it aids understanding and helps prevent events recurring in the future,” she said.