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Minister’s Excellence Awards Recipient Announced

19 September 2016

For Immediate Release

Minister’s Excellence Awards Recipient Announced

A newly trained Corrections Officer who will work at Spring Hill Corrections Facility has won the Minister’s Excellence Award, presented last week by Corrections Minister Judith Collins.

Steven Bell is a former UK Metropolitan police detective who brings not just his policing skills to Corrections but also a desire to make a positive influence in people’s lives. Steven moved to New Zealand from Britain about 2 and 1/2 years ago to be with his wife, who comes from the Bay of Plenty.

Although Steven already had many of the skills required for a Corrections Officers, especially the ability to talk to people and create a rapport, the training at the College introduced him to many things he hadn’t done before, he says.

“The training was excellent, and even if you have been in the services before it helps bring you in line with the other things you need to know.”

His supervisor, John Stapleford, Principle Corrections Officer at Springhill Prison says Steven is one of the best Corrections Officers he seen come through the development program.

“He has a positive attitude, high work ethic and is very motivated to learn and works well within the team. He brings a wealth of experience from his previous job in the Police from the UK and I have no doubt that he has a bright future within Corrections.”

Steven is one of a group of 66 new recruits, including 22 women, who joined the Department just as it is embarking on a major campaign to recruit almost 600 new corrections officers by September next year. The new recruits will be based at prisons all over New Zealand.

The 600 new recruits are needed because the prison population is expected to reach 10,000 by 2017. This increase is due to more people being held in prison on remand than previously. Legislative changes have also meant prisoners serve more of their sentence in prison, and there has been an increase in prisoners serving longer sentences for more serious crimes. Corrections also needs officers for Mt Eden Corrections Facility after resuming management of the prison in July 2015.

Corrections Officers play a key frontline role in prisons.

“Working on the frontline at Corrections means working face to face with prisoners every day,” says Corrections Programme Manager Recruitment Andy Langley, who has been seconded from his role as Prison Director of Manawatu Prison for the recruitment role.

“Getting the right people is important to us. We are looking for people who enjoy being a role model and demonstrate the highest levels of integrity and credibility at all times. It’s a team environment so they need to look after each other as safety comes first.

“Our focus on reducing re-offending means we are looking for people who have great communication skills, are calm under pressure and genuinely believe people can change.

“We are very keen to hire from a range of backgrounds, particularly from the Maori and Pasifika communities, so we have a more diverse workforce that can represent and attend to the needs of prisoners.

“We operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to reduce re-offending and keep the public safe. While it can be a challenging role, the rewards can be life-changing and that’s why the average length of time someone stays on our frontline is eight years.”

“Our people tell us their career at Corrections gives them the chance to work with a team of people who want to change lives. Recruits will get both career and personal growth, job security, a competitive salary, health checks and other benefits.”

New recruits will go through an extensive 16 week programme that combines workplace and classroom based learning. Recruits with previous experience may be able to take advantage of a fast-track process.

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