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Police Association Backs Operation Pike Commander

Media Release
For immediate release
24 November 2010

The Police Association has full confidence in Superintendent Gary Knowles and the other Police staff involved in Operation Pike, Police Association President Greg O’Connor said today.

“Superintendent Knowles is a highly experienced Police officer and Police commander, who is responsible for the entire Tasman District. In addition to his own considerable skill and experience, Superintendent Knowles has within his command numerous Police staff who have unparalleled specialist expertise in areas such as search and rescue and incident control, and who know the West Coast and its people,” Mr O’Connor said.

“The anxiety and frustration felt by the families whose loved-ones are down the mine is heart-wrenching, and our thoughts are with them, but we are confident the rescue team have been and continue to do everything they can to bring the men out, even after this afternoon’s devastating second explosion.

“Superintendent Knowles is in command of this operation, but like any good commander, he has sought and is listening to the advice and opinions of mining and other experts in relation to this rescue effort. As terrible as this situation is, I am confident the right decisions are being made,” Mr O’Connor said.

“I am travelling to Greymouth today to complement the Police administration’s considerable efforts, in helping ensure Superintendent Knowles and the other police on the ground there receive whatever Police Association support we are able to give them.

“Unfortunate comments today from a journalist for The Australian were inflammatory and unhelpful, and can only worsen matters at a very difficult time for the families involved. However, I would like to assure New Zealanders that those comments were not at all representative of the views of Australians in general, whose generosity of spirit in support has been humbling. The Police Federation of Australia has today asked me to pass on the full support of Australian police in this most trying time, their regret at the comments of one foolish journalist, and their desire to help in any way possible,” Mr O’Connor said.


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