NZ Police Graduates Soaring Into Districts

New Zealand Police welcomed 78 new officers today as wing 374 celebrated their success in front of whānau and friends with the top award winners having previously served in the Royal New Zealand Airforce.

This is the first graduating wing since the training curriculum changed from a 16-week course to a 20-week course at the Royal New Zealand Police College.

In attendance was Commissioner of Police Andrew Coster with members of the Police executive, The Hon Mark Mitchell, Minister for Police, alongside long-time police employee, wing patron Alan Richards.

Alan, retired police sergeant with nearly 60 years’ service in both the London Metropolitan Police and New Zealand Police says, “Every recruit’s choice to join New Zealand Police is a testament to their character and commitment to a brighter future.”

Alongside the officers who have previously served in the New Zealand armed services are a significant number of tertiary-educated officers qualified in both degrees and trades.

Many of the graduating officers have family currently serving in New Zealand Police. Some of this wing have themselves worked for police in custody units as Authorised Officers, or in our Emergency Communications Centres as dispatchers and in File Management Centres throughout New Zealand.

Twelve of this wing were born overseas but 20 of them speak more than one language.

The Leadership Award winner is Constable Steven Smith who received his award from the Commissioner of Police.

Constable Smith believes the success of the training is teamwork; He says, “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” Constable Smith has previously served in the Royal New Zealand Airforce and specialised as a Communications and Information Systems Technician. He will be based in Bay of Plenty District.

The Minister’s Award for Top of Wing, after the collation of all course assessments went to Constable Kayla Holley. She received her award along with the Police korowai from Police Minister Mitchell.

Like Constable Smith, Constable Holley also served in the Royal New Zealand Air Force.

She served as a Logistics Specialist and rose to the rank of corporal during her tenure. With a keen interest in fitness, she has competed in body building competitions, has represented the New Zealand Defence Force for Volleyball, and has also played basketball and touch rugby. Kayla says “No dream is too big or too impossible to achieve if you have the determination and bravery to go after it. Keep believing in yourself, stay focused on your goals and never lose sight of what you’re capable of. “

The winner of the Physical Training and Defensive Tactics Award, Constable Ella Kirk is posted to Tasman District. She says “A big inspiration for me has been my three children. I hope my journey to joining Police has shown them the power of self-belief and courage. Goals can come, but through perseverance and dedication.” Ella’s husband is also a police officer and in an interesting twist, also won the Physical Training and Defensive Tactics Award when he graduated with wing 347 a few years ago.

Patron: Alan Richards

Alan Richards is a serving New Zealand Police employee who has given exceptional service to policing and police training, in New Zealand and overseas.

Alan began his policing career as a cadet in the Metropolitan Police in September 1963. From there became a constable in London and spent the next nine years as a beat constable and then joined the Metropolitan Police Mounted Branch riding police horses.

In 1974 he emigrated with his family to New Zealand and was posted to Whanganui where he spent 12 years as a response constable, youth aid officer and a sergeant.

He transferred to the Royal New Zealand Police College in 1986 as a recruit instructor and has instructed on hundreds of recruit courses and taken part in several high-profile operations. He has managed an internal training group ‘Aotea Training Services’ that provided training to government agencies and delivered public training courses.

He has served with the United Nations in Timor Leste where he helped design the first recruit training course for the new Timor Leste Police Service. He has also trained Pacific Island officers at the RNZPC, as well as in Bougainville and Niue.

Alan currently holds the position of National Coordinator Workplace Assessment and coordinates the Probationary Constable Workplace Assessment Programme. There are currently approximately 1250 probationary constables taking part in the programme.

In 2015 Alan received the New Zealand Police Meritorious Service Medal in recognition of his outstanding contribution to New Zealand Police and police training.

/NZ Police Public Release. View in full here.