More ethnic cops planned for Auckland beats

New Zealand Police is keen to recruit more people of Asian origin as sworn officers to reflect the growing ethnic diversity in the Country’s population, Police Commissioner Peter Marshall has said.

“About 30 years ago, people of European extraction accounted for more than 95% of the Police force. It is heartening to see today an increasing number of other ethnicities among us. We will encourage more people to join the Police and establish a closer working relationship with various communities,” he said.

Police sources say that there has been a rise in the number of New Zealander Indians successfully completing the rigid recruitment and training process.

In Auckland, along with their increasing presence, the three Districts have advisory boards with representatives of various communities addressing issues of concern to ethnic minorities.

“I am happy to observe the growing interest among our young people in joining the police force and work for the common good,” Mr Marshall said.

“I want the New Zealand Police to be a transparent, people-friendly organisation, constantly interacting with the public. We must make our communities, homes and roads safer. We are proud of our status as the least corrupt country in the world. We need each other,” he said.

Mr Marshall was speaking to community leaders ahead of the launch of ‘Project Unity,’ at the New Lynn Community Centre on May 28, 2011.

He said the Project was a part of the new emphasis on prevention of crime.

“I believe that we can reduce the incidence of crime through working partnership with the people. New Zealand Police will utilise every opportunity to involve communities in its efforts to make the country safer,” he said.

The Auckland Council, Lynn Mall Town Centre and the New Lynn Business Association are behind the Project, which will be tested initially in the Waitamata Police District.

He said New Zealanders were keen to see police officers who are approachable, personable and reassuring.

“Being able to do that is one reason people join Police in the first place. We have extremely skilful specialist groups but we have to strike a balance.

“It is our objective to reduce the prison population in our country. Every prisoner costs taxpayers $90,000 a year. Our efforts are to see if we can turn around some of the offenders. However, prison will inevitably be the place for serious and repeat offenders,” he said.

He said the Police were addressing on priority the menace of gangs and family violence along with measures to improve road safety.

A career police officer, Mr Marshall has 39 years of extensive experience in police work as an officer in uniform and as a detective in the Criminal Investigation Branch. He was previously the head of the Hawkes Bay Armed Offenders Squad, Area Commander in Hastings and Auckland City and Assistant Commissioner based in Wellington.

Prior to taking over the current post, Mr Marshall was the Commissioner of Police in the Solomon Islands.

Appointed as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit by Queen Elizabeth in 2000, he is the recipient of the Royal Humane Society Award for Bravery and many other police commendations.

He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, and holds diplomas in New Zealand Policing and Business Studies.

The photograph (by Anto Epream) here shows (from left) Asian Liaison Officer Raymond Wong (Waitamata), Asian Liaison Officer Justin Zeng, Ethnic Liaison Officer Constable Gurpreet Arora (Counties Manukau), General Manager, Maori, Pacific & Ethnic Services Superintendent Wally Haumaha (Head Quarters), Police Commissioner Peter Marshall, Asian Liaison Officer Jessica Phuang (Auckland City District), Waitamata District Commander Superintendent Bill Searle, Acting Inspector, Ethnic Services Rakesh Naidoo (Police Head Quarters) and Ethnic Liaison Officer Constable Wells Albert (Waitakere) at the community meeting held at the New Lynn Community Centre on May 28, 2011.

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