Auckland, August 3, 2019
As 79 men and women graduated from the Royal New Zealand Police College in Porirua, Wellington on Thursday, August 1, 2019, it was a moment of joy, pride, satisfaction and achievement, not only for the new recruits, but also for their teachers, trainers, superior Police Officers, parents, relatives and friends.
It was a moment of gratification for me.
For, they belonged to Police Recruit Wing 328, of which I am the Patron.
I was told that I would the Patron of the 79 recruits throughout their career in the New Zealand Police and in fact, throughout their life.
It is elating to realise that as their Patron, I initiated them into 16-weeks of rigorous training on April 15, 2019 and as their Patron, saw them graduate along with about 500 people.
There were not just tears of joy but also tears of sorrow, that they would perhaps would not see each other again, unless they happen to work together in the same Police District and on the same beat. Such was the bond that they struck day-in and day-out at the College that they had a sense of belonging for each other.
Opportunity and Commitment
I deemed it a great honour to be the Wing Patron of the New Zealand Police Recruit Wing 328 and express my gratitude to the Commissioner of Police Mike Bush, Deputy Police Commissioner Wallace Haumaha, Inspector Rakesh Naidoo and to many other Officers of the New Zealand Police Force. This was a rare opportunity and a role, which I hoped I fulfilled with a sense of responsibility and purpose.
I have had the privilege of working closely with the Police in a few countries around the world, and each day of my engagement with Police Officers has accentuated my admiration and respect for them; for, they not only carry, justifiably of course, the pride of belonging to a select force of men and women but also because they are charged with the unenviable task of keeping our parks, roads, a thousand other places of public congregation, increasingly our homes and in recent times even in places of worship.
My respect for the New Zealand Police is even more endearing, because, over the past 16 or so years, I have had the honour of working with them in addressing some of the needs of increasingly diverse communities.
And all of us New Zealanders have grown to respect our Police to a much higher degree for their role in the aftermath of the Christchurch massacre on March 15, 2019. Those of us who have read William Shakespeare’s Julius Cesar would have learnt of the Ides of March and the abomination that descended that day.
To borrow and tweak the words of the late Sir Winston Churchill, the War-Time Prime Minister of Britain, ‘Never in the history of humankind have so many owed so much to so few.’ The quick action of our Police diminished what could have been mindless, nefarious and prodigious slaughter of incalculable proportions.
Times are changing. Like our country, our society and our communities, our Police are also becoming an extensively diverse family. There are more than 12,000 Police Officers serving throughout the country day and night, so that we can feel safe wherever we are. As the Police numbers grow to meet the growing demands of the country, so will its diversity.
Our Police Force is also becoming diverse in ethnicity and in the number of women officers. I am proud that my Wing has 23 of them, extremely capable and enthusiastic and I hope that there would be increasing numbers of them as new Wings are created.
Police Minister Stuart Nash said that the 79 new constables brought the total number of recruits since his government took office in October 2017 to 1524.
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