Officers recognised for 'heroic' actions

Southern police officers were recognised at an awards ceremony in Invercargill yesterday for their work during the earthquake in Christchurch in February, and the Easy Rider tragedy.

Southland area commander Inspector Lane Todd said the Southland Area Police Award Ceremony was held annually to recognise the contribution of police staff around the region.

Officers were awarded for various achievements; 14 years' long service and good conduct, 21, 28, 35 and 42-year service clasps and a New Zealand police commissioner's commendation.

Sergeant John De Lury was presented a 42-year service clasp, which was rare and a high honour, Mr Todd said.

Red and black ribbons were also presented to 36 Southern officers who were immediately deployed and worked in trying conditions throughout the Christchurch earthquake on February 22 last year.

Southern District commander Superintendent Bob Burns said their actions were "nothing short of heroic". He presented a plaque to Southland police for its handling of the Easy Rider sinking, which claimed eight lives.

Southern police did a fantastic job and punched well above their weight during the Easy Rider tragedy, which was the worst maritime disaster in New Zealand history since the Wahine in 1968, he said.

Mr Burns said he was proud of the results officers in the south had achieved.

Three certificates of appreciation were also presented - two members of the public who assisted a man being assaulted on October 28; and Samuel Powell, who attempted to locate and save the driver of a vehicle involved in a crash, was also recognised.

The Southland Times