Rookie cop en­joys the beat

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By EMMA WHITTAKER

Tel­isha Ku­mar is quickly get­ting used to the world of front­line polic­ing.

The 20-year-old grad­u­ated from police col­lege in June and is a few weeks away from start­ing du­ties at the Avon­dale Police Sta­tion.

For now she is at the police field train­ing unit in Otahuhu.

Re­cruits from the Auck­land City Dis­trict are sent to the unit for a fur­ther 10 weeks of in-the-field train­ing to get them ready for the job.

So far it’s the search for an el­derly man suf­fer­ing from Alzheimer’s dis­ease that is top­ping the Auck­land res­i­dent’s list of bet­ter work sto­ries.

‘‘It was nice to go home know­ing you had done some­thing good,’’ she says.

‘‘I don’t know what he would have done if we hadn’t found him.’’

Miss Ku­mar de­cided on her ca­reer path when she was in year 13 at Mt Roskill Gram­mar School.

‘‘When you’re grow­ing up there are other kids you can just see go­ing down the wrong track and you just want to help them.

‘‘That’s what I’d like to do in the police – work with youth.’’

She was 19 when she went to police col­lege mak­ing her one of the youngest in her wing of re­cruits.

‘‘You won­der if peo­ple will lis­ten to you, but be­ing young hasn’t been a prob­lem.’’

Al­though not ev­ery­thing has gone as the new con­sta­ble ex­pected.

‘‘You think you’ll be out on the road all the time, but you get so much pa­per­work all the time.’’

Miss Ku­mar is one of a rel­a­tively small num­ber of In­dian po­lice­women.

With an age­ing staff in dan­ger of los­ing touch with an in­creas­ingly mul­ti­cul­tural pop­u­la­tion, police launched a $450,000 re­cruit­ment cam­paign last year to at­tract younger of­fi­cers from a di­verse range of eth­nic back­grounds.

The tar­get groups are women, Maori, Pa­cific Is­landers, In­di­ans, Asians, and Africans.

‘‘We live in the sec­ond most di­verse city in the world af­ter Van­cou­ver,’’ police na­tional strate­gic eth­nic ad­viser In­spec­tor Rakesh Naidoo says.

‘‘Stud­ies show that police are more ef­fec­tive when they re­flect the com­mu­nity they work in. Di­ver­sity is cru­cial.

‘‘We need staff with cul­tural and com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills, em­pa­thy, and knowl­edge of dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ties.’’

Asian and African women are still par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult to en­cour­age into the job, police se­nior re­cruit­ment and mar­ket­ing man­ager Camp­bell Moore says.

‘‘Of­ten they come from places where peo­ple don’t trust police or the job isn’t held in very high es­teem.’’

Things are chang­ing though.

‘‘Last year we had the most di­verse crop of rookie re­cruits ever.’’

Mr Moore says 31 per cent of all re­cruits were women and 31 per cent were from tar­geted eth­nic groups.

Photo: EMMA WHITTAKER

Tel­isha New cop: It’s all about help­ing peo­ple for rookie con­sta­ble Tel­isha Ku­mar.

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