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This week we had the pleasure of an address by Whitby resident, Richard Chambers, Assistant Commissioner (Investigations) in the New Zealand Police.

You know you’re getting old when Assistant Commissioners look so young. Seriously, though, to rise from Constable to Assistant Commissioner in a little over twenty years seems a remarkable achievement. Richard, without benefit of notes or visual aids, explained how this came about.

He started his career in his native Auckland, but promotion requires police officers to move around the country and handle a variety of roles. In Richard’s case this included child abuse investigations, uniformed policing, crime detection, advising the police in Kiribati, providing security for prominent visitors, and then increasingly moving to senior management positions.

Richard’s current role at Head Office covers organised crime, undercover work, and new technologies.

He noted that New Zealand is well-served by its police force and is the envy of most other jurisdictions. This derives from the calibre, and especially the common sense, of its officers, but rests essentially on the trust of the community. This trust can be enhanced by engaging with our younger citizens, such as through the club’s Christmas Party at the Police College.

Although Richard avoided personal insights, he reminded us that policing is often stressful and even traumatic at times, which can spill over onto officers’ families. Things are not getting any easier, with the rise of cybercrime and the huge profits that can be made from drug dealing.

Richard’s talk was followed by a lively Q&A session.

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