Hawke’s Bay Today, Hawke’s Bay by Anneke Smith 12 Mar 2018
Members of the public came faceto-face with police officers in action at the weekend – for all the right reasons.
Yesterday more than 700 people turned out at the Hawke’s Bay Racing Centre in Hastings for the annual Police Open Day.
The afternoon kicked off with a dramatic Armed Offenders Squad (AOS) display, followed by a mock-kidnapping of the Police Minister himself, Napier MP Stuart Nash.
Hawke’s Bay Area Commander Dave Greig said the event had a recruitment focus and about 50 people had signed up to be contacted from the police recruitment hub.
Diversity in all aspects, whether it be ethnicity, gender, age, religion or sexuality, was important for the police force, he said.
“We need to reflect the community and the diversity of our community. We need more young people, Maori and more women in the police force. Anyone who cares enough.” More than 60 staff, including dog-handlers’ canine companions, hosted the open day which was held away from the police station for the first time this year.
Mr Greig said police dogs had, unsurprisingly, been the most popular aspect of the open day.
“They appeal to a broad spectrum of society. Puppies are so cute but there’s also an exciting nature to what they do. Dog handlers are also very enthusiastic and engaging people and who doesn’t love a puppy?” The open day also gave members of the public to see the Armed Offenders Squad, Search and Rescue, Scene of Crime officers, Road Policing and Community Patrol teams in action.
Such teams came to the fore when Mr Nash was kidnapped and bundled into a car on a grass area at the racing centre.
The offending car was chased in a low-speed pursuit before the AOS intervened and those pretending to kidnap the Minister were taken down by police dogs.
“We’re really pleased with the day because it’s allowed an opportunity for the community to engage with us, and also our specialist squads,” Mr Greig said.
Eastern District Commander, Superintendent Tania Kura said the open day was a great opportunity to promote policing as a career, while also providing police and the community a chance to connect in an informal setting.
Eastern District police needed great people who cared about their communities to join them and the day was an opportunity for anyone curious about a behind-the-scenes look at the work police do, Ms Kura said.