Cops use local knowledge to create rapport with community

Dec. 1, 2018, 8:47 a.m.

Being able to serve the local community where whānau know you by name is what local officers say is the best thing about being a cop in the Far North.

The police are on a recruitment drive, with the aim of training 1000 people every year. In Te Tai Tokerau, where police numbers will increase by 25 per cent, that means recruiting those who call Kaitāia home.

When Constable Stacee Rehupo-Robson joined the police force two years ago she faced a barrier of having whānau members with a criminal history.

“I was just honest with them and told them that ‘yes, they have been to jail in the past but they know that I’m just doing my job in the end’.”

Rehupo-Robson wanted to become a police officer to be a positive role model for her younger siblings and to create some good news for Kaitāia.

One of the best things about serving locally is ensuring there are no barriers or stigma when dealing with the community, she says.

Constable Sean Herbert says it can be difficult dealing with your own whānau you know, but it’s great to have already established respect.

“It’s good for them to be able to see a familiar face on this side of the fence,” he says.

“It’s important for me to serve as a police officer in the Far North District because this is my home town, this is my people; I want to be out there helping them, supporting them where I can in this role,” Herbert says.

“So far I’ve been in the police force for six months and every day I’m finding new reasons why I enjoy the job.”

Police recruitment hopeful Te Puhi Rudolph hopes to use his understanding of Māori and Pacific Island families to create a good name for police.

“Growing up in Kaitaia, it’s a small place and I understand the struggles that everyday families go through.”

Being a rugby league player, Rudolph is not struggling with the physical fitness requirements but he admits the English-based theory is difficult after learning in a kura kaupapa.

He believes there is no better time to apply to the police force, especially for Māori.

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