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We are well served by the men and women in Police working to help keep us safe in our homes and communities. Last week I joined Constables Jason Isaac and Kirill Tolkun on a ride-along in Ōhāriu.I’d like to thank them both for allowing me to join them and for the insights they shared with me over several hours. I’d also like to acknowledge and thank Police for approving the ride-along.

It wouldn’t be appropriate to give details of the jobs attended (although there was an unanticipated arrest early in the piece.) It was certainly something of an eye-opener in terms of Police operations and the impact of paperwork, as necessary as it may be, on the time officers are able to spend out in the community.

The communication skills and judgement the officers displayed should give us all great heart. Their ability to deal with a range of people across a number of challenging circumstances is a testament to both their character and the training they receive. Likewise, the considerations they made and judgement they exercised in determining what actions to take were impressive. We are in good hands and Police are worthy of the support of both the public and Government to help them do their jobs better. A major issue in policing in Wellington and across New Zealand is mental health.

It’s so important that we get issues around mental health right. That is why the National-led Government supported having mental health professionals in Police watch houses and introduced policies to have mental health workers involved in responding to incidents alongside Police officers.
These were important programmes, both cut under this Government. We need to do better to support Police and our communities.

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