Towering policeman back on patrol after film stint

ANDREA O'NEIL
Last updated 05:00 17/10/2012
Constable Paul Randall, right, with Sergeant Steve McCormick
MAARTEN HOLL/Fairfax NZ
TALL TIMBER: Constable Paul Randall, right, with Sergeant Steve McCormick. Doing the Hobbit work 'was a massive step out of my comfort zone', Mr Randall says

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If you get a hug from a seven-foot-tall policeman, don't be alarmed.

It will just be Porirua constable Paul Randall, at 2.16 metres New Zealand's tallest cop, who is back on the beat after 18 months among theatrical types on the set of The Hobbit.

Mr Randall, 42, who lives in Tawa, stands 7ft 1in, and his police-issue boots give him another inch.

His boots are US size 18 (about a 17 in New Zealand) and were specially commissioned for him by the force this year, something Mr Randall was chuffed about - it usually costs him about $600 to order a pair large enough.

At police college in 2005 he had a bed specially made for him, and he froze on parades before he was knitted a huge jersey. He's not New Zealand's tallest man, but he's not far off, and has only once met someone taller than himself.

Mr Randall had 18 months off police duties to work on The Hobbit as an actor and a scale double for tall Middle-earth characters, to make the hobbits look tiny in comparison. "It's bloody great," he said of film work. "It's good for me, I just chill out, do my work."

He has taken acting lessons with Miranda Harcourt and is keen to get on to a New Zealand television series. His height is a unique selling point. "I get so much attention, you may as well make the most of it."

Switching between the film world and the police can take some adjustment, from a culture where hugs are given freely to something more buttoned up.

"It's a real left and right brain kind of thing.

"It was a massive step out of my comfort zone, especially [coming] from the police, where it's quite closed and defensive." Fairfax NZ

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