Sergeant and for­mer phi­los­o­phy ma­jor

Kapi-Mana News - - WHAT’S ON - LUCY SWINNEN

For­mer phi­los­o­phy ma­jor Act­ing Sergeant Phillip Pithyou didn’t dream of be­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer when he grew up.

In fact, polic­ing was the fur­thest thing from his mind, but an en­counter with a com­mu­nity con­sta­ble abruptly changed his ca­reer path.

‘‘The ques­tion was raised, have you ever thought of be­ing po­lice?’’ Pithyou said. ’’Once I started read­ing on it, I thought, this is more for me.’’

The Act­ing Sergeant was work­ing with marginalised Welling­ton youth and study­ing psy­chol­ogy and phi­los­o­phy at Vic­to­ria Univer­sity when he met the com­mu­nity cop.

‘‘At the time it [polic­ing] ap­peared dif­fer­ent, but look­ing back it is quite sim­i­lar,’’ Pithyou said.

Join­ing the po­lice was a chance to make ef­fec­tive change in the com­mu­nity.

‘‘I thought, in essence, it is an ex­ten­sion of what I am do­ing, in a po­si­tion I can make more of a dif­fer­ence.’’

He still uses the fun­da­men­tals of phi­los­o­phy and psy­chol­ogy he learned at univer­sity in his po­lice work to­day.

‘‘Peo­ple of­ten ask what is your weapon of choice?’’ Pithyou said. ’’Com­mu­ni­ca­tion is my num­ber one tool.’’

His phi­los­o­phy back­ground helped him ex­plain the ‘‘why’’ of the law to peo­ple.

It comes in handy when meet­ing refugees as part of his du­ties as Welling­ton Dis­trict Eth­nic Li­ai­son Co­or­di­na­tor and help­ing them un­der­stand New Zealand law en­force­ment.

In August, Pithyou will reach his eight year mark in the po­lice force.

Un­like the the­ory fo­cus at univer­sity, Pithyou gets to en­gage di­rectly with the com­mu­nity.

‘‘In New Zealand, we po­lice by con­sent. Gain­ing the trust and con­fi­dence of the pub­lic is a pri- or­ity for us,’’ Pithyou said.

The New Zealand Po­lice are look­ing to re­cruit at least 400 po­lice of­fi­cers across the coun­try this year.

They are hold­ing ca­reer days across the coun­try to let peo­ple know about what it is re­ally like to be in the po­lice force.

In par­tic­u­lar they are look­ing for 18-to-29 year old women and peo­ple from Maori, Pa­cific and mul­ti­cul­tural back­grounds to sign-up.

‘‘Peo­ple are quite driven by the idea that they want to be part of the com­mu­nity.’’ mar­ket­ing man­ager Chan­drika Ku­maran said.

Phillip Pithyou didn’t dream of be­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer when he grew up.

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