Temporary police officer posted in Raglan to cover vacancy

Raglan’s police force is back to full staff with the temporary placement of a constable from Hamilton.

Constable Gary Ryburn started work in Raglan last week. He covers a gap left by the leaving of senior constable Kevin McGartland at the end of June.

Waikato Western Area Commander Naila Hassan said Mr Ryburn was “a very well-respected police officer”, and he would be based in Raglan until a permanent officer was found for the job.

“I would really like to thank the community for their patience,” said Ms Hassan, who has been struggling to fill the position.

The position has been advertised three times so far – applications for the last posting closed last week.

“There has been two processes so far,” said Ms Hassan. In the first instance there was no shortlist, and with the second process “an officer was offered the job but turned it down”, possibly because it “was too expensive for him to live out there”.

“I need the right person who is going to fit in with the Raglan community and the police team, so we just don’t accept anyone for the job.

“I have heard that there are a number of people who are keen from our own district.”

Ms Hassan said the police officer would be required to live in Raglan or nearby.

“They must be able to respond to a job within 30 minutes of a call coming in.”

Also, the position wasn’t just about stepping into the community for eight hours and then stepping out again.

“We want them to be seen in the community, at restaurants and supermarkets, it’s about building the trust and confidence of the community.

“Hopefully the community will understand why we have done what we have done.”

Ms Hassan said the recruitment process was a long one. “It has to be advertised, shortlisted, interviewed, paper work, and then getting presence on the ground.

“It can take two-and-a-half to three months, that’s why there has been a delay. The first process took six weeks.”

Ms Hassan said with summer coming and the population beginning to swell in town she had no hesitation in posting a temporary officer in Raglan.

“I have had some members of the community ringing me with various concerns … I have to prioritise numbers when and where they are needed. Now the demand is there (in Raglan) so there is no hesitation in putting in another officer.”

She promised that there would be a high visible police presence in Raglan in the week leading to Christmas and past the new year.

“There will be additional police to support the Raglan policing team.

“There will be a sergeant on duty every day and night until about midnight.

“We will run a big new year operation as well so there will be even more officers on duty on New Year’s Eve.

“We are doing it so that the community feels safe; keep the rat-bags out of town, to deter crime, and for the community to know that if they ring the police there will be a response.”

Inger Vos

* If you need to report a crime or incident and there is no one present at the Raglan Police Station they may be on duty but out and about patrolling or attending another job. Rather than coming back later or waiting for them to return, phone the station and your call will be redirected to the communications centre. You can report the crime or incident over the phone via the Crime Reporting Line and the local staff in Raglan will hear about it. If you require urgent police attendance then please don’t hesitate, call 111.