Top cop likes to rolls up his sleeves

Central Leader - - NEWS - By EMMA WHIT­TAKER

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.

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