Top cop likes to rolls up his sleeves
You can’t lead from the office.
That’s the mantra of Auckland’s new top police officer and it often takes him out on to the frontline.
Auckland City District Commander Superintendent Richard Chambers took up his role in October after three years in charge of the Tasman District.
A quick flick through South Island newspapers reveals just how hands-on he likes to get.
In May, Chambers was photographed, dressed in his gym gear, assisting with the arrest of a man suspected of robbing a dairy at knifepoint.
‘‘I was leaving the gym . . . I heard it come over the radio, so I went,’’ he says.
‘‘I like to work alongside officers. That’s the fun part, I never want to lose that,’’ he says.
It was a similar situation when he heard about a serious crash in Onehunga while driving home late last Tuesday night.
A young woman was injured.
‘‘It didn’t sound good. As a police officer you take an interest in the wellbeing of people. I went there to support my staff and do what they do.’’
The Aucklander has been with the police for 18 years. He worked as a frontline officer in Avondale and later as a detective in Auckland and Wellington.
It has been a relatively quick rise to the top for the 42-year-old, although he wasn’t able to start his career as soon as he would have liked because there used to be a minimum height requirement for police.
‘‘I am a relatively young district
critically commander. It is good in a sense because it reflects the profile of many of the staff that I lead.
‘‘I guess it is a reflection of my engagement in policing and the fact that I love leading and I’ve worked hard,’’ he says.
on crime prevention, focusing on victims, and building on the existing trust and confidence in police are among Chambers’ goals for the district.
‘‘That’s about having police in the right place, at the right time, doing the right things to meet the expectations of the community,’’ he says.
Chambers is responsible for about 1000 staff and is in control of specialist units including the police helicopter, Eagle, and the maritime unit.
‘‘For me it is the next natural pro- gression in my career and it is even cooler for me to be able to do it in my home town.
‘‘I’ve got a natural desire to be back home. I’ve been away for 10 years and just to come back here and lead police across Auckland city is a privilege.’’
Frontline support: Auckland City Police District Commander Superintendent Richard Chambers.