Top cop pays tribute to police hero uncle

00:34, Aug 06 2014
Jason Guthrie
TOP COP: New Dunedin Clutha Waitaki police commander Inspector Jason Guthrie.

The nephew of Aramoana police hero Stu Guthrie paid tribute to his late uncle as he announced his appointment as Dunedin's top cop this morning.

Inspector Jason Guthrie will replace Greg Sparrow as Dunedin Clutha Waitaki area commander.

His uncle was Stu Guthrie, an Armed Offender Squad sergeant killed in 1990 by Aramoana man David Gray as he went to investigate Gray's indiscriminate firing of a gun in the seaside township.

After a 34-hour siege, Gray massacred 13 people in what has been described as New Zealand's worst criminal incident.

Jason Guthrie said the family connection with the police through his Uncle Stu definitely influenced his decision to join the police.

"I'm very proud of his commitment to serve his local community and in particular his response to the tragic events at Aramoana."


Like his late uncle, Jason Guthrie has been a member of the Dunedin AOS, serving as the squad's area commander.

In 2011 he undertook a seven-month posting to Afghanistan as part of the NZ Police contingent operating in Bamyan Province, Southern District Police Commander Superintendent Andrew Coster said.

Most recently Jason Guthrie served as district deployment manager, a role pivotal in the establishment of the district's command centre which was spearheading its crime prevention focus, Coster said.

"Inspector Guthrie is a well-respected local leader with great skills and experience," he said.

"He's been relieving as area commander for the past few months and in that short time has had a very positive impact, demonstrating his ability to tackle important issues and to provide clear direction and focus.

"I have no doubt that he will play a key part in the district achieving its vision of being the safest place to live and visit."

Jason Guthrie, who has a bachelor of commerce from the University of Otago and a police career in Dunedin spanning 20 years, has worked in a range of both frontline and administrative policing roles.

Jason Guthrie said he was privileged to take up the new role and it was his intention to tackle local crime issues with vigour and a strong prevention focus.

"It's an honour for me to lead the outstanding police staff we have in Dunedin Clutha Waitaki and I am looking forward to supporting the fantastic work they do," he said.

"Local communities have every reason to be extremely proud of their police who work hard to prevent and reduce crime and are committed to ensuring our patch remains one of the safest in the world.

Although wider Dunedin is a "very safe place", he said, there are still plenty of opportunities to increase  rime prevention activities.

"This includes rigorously targeting road safety issues, challenging negative attitudes towards alcohol, and taking a low-tolerance approach to violence in the home. None of these harmful behaviours are acceptable to our community."