Five new faces on the beat
14 September 2018
New police constables Fraser Kinnerley, Josh Houlahan (former student), Sreejith Sreekumar, Jake Bone and Beth Beech are starting out in their new careers in Whanganui.
Whanganui's police numbers have been boosted by five new constables as part of the drive to recruit more staff.
Constables Fraser Kinnerley, Josh Houlahan, Jake Bone, Beth Beech and Sreejith Sreekumar were officially welcomed at a mihi whakatau on Wednesday, September 12.
Bone has been in the job for four months, Sreekumar for two months and Kinnerley, Houlahan and Beech for just two weeks.
The new constables come from diverse backgrounds and, although initially assigned to traffic units, are looking forward to learning more about all areas of policing.
Kinnerley is originally from Derby in England and has been in Whanganui for 14 years. Most recently he has worked in loss prevention for two local big box stores and his goal has been to get into the police after applying four years ago.
"I wanted to do something where I could help every day, make someone's life a bit better," Kinnerley said.
Houlahan, who has been in Whanganui for 25 years, signed up for the police 10 years ago but, fresh out of school, was too young.
"So I had my children and studied education and psychology but I couldn't get past being a police officer - it's my dream job," Houlahan said.
"My wife wanted to be a police officer too and we came along to an information session. After it, I said to her 'this is my job' and she was happy with that. I fell in love with it.
"I want to work with youth. It's a big thing for me. If we can break through to youth, it's a better life they have and one less person we have to deal with."
Bone is an Australian who moved to Whanganui recently. He was previously an electrician and a voluntary worker with children who got into trouble.
"I wanted to help out families - I have a big need to help people," Bone said.
"I'd like to get into family harm and detective-type work. I'm here to make as much of a difference as I can."
Beech was born and bred in Palmerston North and worked for an insurance broker until she got sick of being stuck in an office all day.
"There are six professional standards that the police are really encouraging people to stand for and I support them," Beech said.
"They are integrity, professionalism, respect, empathy, valuing diversity and commitment to the Treaty [of Waitangi] and Maori. They are pushing and encouraging staff to follow those and I really agree with that."
Sreekumar is from the south of India and is proud to be the first officer from his community in the central police region. He and his wife moved to Whanganui seven years ago when she got a nursing job at Whanganui Hospital.
With a background in computers and information security, Sreekumar is keen to use his skills in his new career.
"I really wanted to be a computer security specialist and I can see a wonderful career for me with the police in this area," Sreekumar said.
"I'm proud to serve the community."
Senior Sergeant Andrew McDonald said with the Government's boost in policing numbers, more new staff were being sought for Whanganui.
Anyone interested in finding out more about a career in the police can contact McDonald at the Whanganui Police Station or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information is also available online at www.newcops.co.nz or phone 0800 NEW COPS (0800 639 2677).
By Sue Dudman
Wanganui Chronicle 14/9/18