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Police Celebrate Anniversary Milestones

Police Celebrate Anniversary Milestones

23 February 2006

New Zealand Police will be celebrating a number of significant historical milestones on Friday with a Minister's parade through Wellington to Parliament in recognition of 120 years of policing in New Zealand, 75 years of the Police Pipe Band, 65 years of Women in police, 50 years since police dogs were introduced and 25 years of the Royal New Zealand Police College at Porirua.

The parade involving around 100 police staff will start opposite Midland Park in Lambton Quay at 3pm on Friday and proceed to Parliament where it will be inspected by the Minister of Police the Hon. Annette King.

Brief Background History - "Back Then"

"The life of a bobby in Wellington back in the late 1800s."

The bobby on the beat was expected to know all the residents and businesses on his beat. Constables worked 14 night shifts in a row and it was their duty to check all doors, windows and gates during the shift. Another duty was to 'obliterate' any obscene writing or drawings on walls and report any suspicious activities to his sergeant on a regular basis.

Constables walked up and down their beat at a steady 2 1/2 miles per hour, so that anyone requiring assistance might meet a policeman by standing in the same spot for a period of time. If the bobby needed immediate help he could sound his whistle, but this was to be done as seldom as possible and always reported to their sergeant afterwards. Another duty was to remove orange peel and other fruit skins from footpaths to prevent accidents.

Mount Cook was used as a training police station for new constables - because of its proximity to the slum areas of Wellington - the station was regarded as quite a good place to get real policing training and experience.

Wellington Police in those early days was involved in investigating fraudsters, escapees from New Caledonia's penal colony, industrial strikes, a counterfeit florin ring, sly grogging, Sunday trading, gambling and opium dens in Haining Street were some of the crimes of the day to contend with.

NZ Police took Sir Robert Peel's principles, founder of the London Metropolitan police force and named father of modern policing, and adapted them to suit our own heritage and identify as a bi-cultural and increasingly multi-cultural society. Peel is famously known as saying 'police are the public and the public are the police.' Police are citizens in uniform, represent the community and are publicly accountable for their actions.

Pipe band - 75 years: In 1936 Detective Sergeant Neil McPhee set up the band. He not only taught the pipers but also manufactured his own make of bagpipe for the police band. Initially the Band's practice room was located above the stables of the old Taranaki Street Police Station in central Wellington.

The band is internationally recognised and last year at the European Championships which attracted entries from 139 pipe bands from around the world, the New Zealand Police Pipe Band was ninth overall in the top grade of the competition.

Women in Police - 65 years: It was not until the election of the first Labour government in 1935 that the way was make clear to introduce women to the police.

In 1941 Commissioner Cummings personally selected 10 women, who were assigned to Detective Branch for work with offences against women and girls. During the war years, one of their other duties also concerned young girls who were out late, at a time when there were many American servicemen about town.

In those days police women had separate training which was held at Wellington South and they were accommodated in private B and B establishments.

They were not issued a uniform and were often sidelined into clerical work and cleaning duties. They were forbidden to make arrests unless a male constable was present. Yet the women officers were deployed when it suited to conduct risky undercover work involving sly-groggers, political radicals, and abortionists.

It was 1952 when women were finally issued a uniform, 1956 when men and women first trained together at Trentham, and 1972 before women could be deployed on the full range of police duties.

Today 16 percent of our police officers are women; 20 years ago it was just over 5 percent.

Dogs - 50 years: A former Prime Minister, Sid Holland wished to have police dogs in New Zealand after seeing dogs in operation at Surrey Constabulary police dog school during a state visit to England.

In 1956 Sergeant Frank Riley of the Surrey Constabulary arrived with his fully-trained police dog Miska, three young dogs and twelve puppies born during the sea voyage to New Zealand. Constable Colin Guppy joined Sergeant Riley to become New Zealand's first police dog handlers.

A Dog Training Centre was set up in Trentham and is still there today.

The past 24 years have also seen dogs trained for specialist work, with the first drug dog training course being held in 1976. This was closely followed by the introduction of explosive detection courses in 1977. More recent developments have seen the introduction of the Armed Offenders Squad dog course, Accelerated Detection and Search and Rescue.

Police college - 25 years: Twenty five years ago the police training school at Trentham was closed and relocated to its present site at Porirua.

The College normally has three recruit intakes in training at any one time, equating to between 180-240 recruits. It also provides promotion and specialist courses for senior Police staff, meaning there can be between 300-400 police staff in training at the College on any one day.

Three specialist units are also located at the College campus– the New Zealand Police Museum, New Zealand Police Library and National Police Video Unit.

Recent facilities added include - the Indoor Firearms Range, opened in February 2002 and a new Vehicle Management Circuit for driver training opened this week.


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