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