Detective takes key iwi role
Preventing crime rather than reacting to it will be the focus of new Marlborough iwi liaison officer Detective Sam Hedley.
Mr Hedley's new role involves working with the community, iwi, police and government agencies to reduce the number of Maori in the justice system, both as offenders and victims of crime.
Forty people attended his welcoming ceremony at the Blenheim Police Station yesterday including police, iwi and Mr Hedley's family.
New police kaumatua Graeme Grennell, who will provide cultural support for the police, was also welcomed at the event.
Relieving Marlborough area commander Inspector Ross Grantham said it was exciting to be appointing Mr Hedley to the role, which involved the implementation of a nation-wide police strategy called "Turning the Tide" which focused on preventive actions to stop crime as well as breaking the cycle of family violence.
"Police can't do this by themselves," he said.
"This is a great chance for Sam. He has the support of his whanau in blue as well as his family and iwi."
Mr Hedley said his core focus would be getting Maori crime statistics down. To achieve this, he would be interacting with local agencies and stakeholders from day to day. A big challenge would be changing peoples' perspectives of the way police go about their business, he said.
"It is not about locking people up, it is about not getting people locked up."
Mr Hedley said it would be a challenge to get his head around community policing, but he was looking forward to it.
Mr Hedley, who has has tribal affiliations with Tuwharetoa, Te Atihaunui-a-Paparangi and Ngai Tahu, said he grew up in Marlborough and was happy to move back in October last year.
When not working, the 32-year-old enjoys spending time with his wife Melissa and their two young children, and is a keen rugby player and golfer.
- The Marlborough Express