Auckland, July 3, 2020
‘Safer Communities together’ is the slogan that more than 14,000 officers of the New Zealand Police. Together, they form a community that is known for friendship, partnership and understanding. Be it at an office, police station or out in the streets, our brothers and sisters in the blue are the guardians of peace.
A few of us have the privilege of being more closely associated with the Police Commissioner, Deputy Commissioners, their immediate lieutenants, District Commanders and many officers and we feel gratified of the humaneness that they exhibit.
Fear comes true
There are times when we sincerely fear that some harm may come to them as they go about ensuring our safety.
That fear came true on June 19, 2020 when Constable Matthew Dennis Hunt was shot as he approached a car in the West Auckland suburb of Massey. His murder brought to an end the dream of the young man to make a difference in safeguarding New Zealanders.
It also brought to light a cruel reality: that our Police too are vulnerable to attacks and worse, murder. The tragic incident had the whole Nation in a state of shock.
Let us think and act
It is fortunate that murder of police officers is not common in New Zealand. The last was eleven years ago. Even so, the killing of Constable Hunt was cruel.
Like thousands of men and women, he too went through a tough selection and even tougher training process as a Member of the New Zealand Police Recruit Wing 312 in October 2017.
Less than three years later, his dead body is a stark reminder of the violence that continues to rage along our streets, endangering the lives of those who work to make our lives safer.
It also brings to the fore the need to make our police officers too safer.
Let us think and act appropriately.