Commander returns to his roots
The new top cop in the south has returned to his roots, an area he believes could be the safest in the world.
Southern District commander Inspector Andrew Coster was previously Area Commander of Auckland Central, a position he held for the past four years.
He has spent the first two weeks in his new job getting reacquainted with the region where he was born.
"Having been born in Dunedin but never lived there, this appointment is a bit like coming back to my roots," he said.
"I'm excited at the prospect of getting involved in the southern scene and everything that's happening."
His focus for the district, which covers from Stewart Island up to the Waitaki River and west to Haast, was to ensure people were safe and felt safe.
"I believe this district has the potential to be the safest place to live and visit in the world and I don't say that lightly."
New Zealand was consistently near the top of the safest places to live [in the world] and there was no reason why the southern district could not be the safest part, he said.
It already produced good results around crime and he expected it to continue.
Community was the key to successful policing, "where the community know the police and police know the community" and that was already the case in the southern region, he said.
Unlike large metropolitan areas, police had the advantage of understanding what was going on in the community.
He was impressed with operations within the district and the exceptional work of regional police who had achieved good results in crime reduction and road policing.
The southern district was well-placed to continue to deliver excellent results. Every district had its challenges but he had confidence in regional police and what they were doing for crime prevention.
He planned to spend a lot of time out of the office, visiting regional police stations.
This week he will be visiting Invercargill police station.
"I want to understand the issues, so that we can better tackle them."
The national police operational strategy - prevention first - would be at the forefront of his focus.
Recent "policing excellence" changes supported police and allowed them to deliver on the objectives of preventing crime and putting victims at the centre of the business of policing, he said.
The role of police leaders, such as his, would be an important aspect of that.
Leaders would enable front line staff to do their best in the community.
The 38-year old is the youngest district commander in the country but said he was not the youngest ever.
Police Commissioner Peter Marshall said Mr Coster brought 16 years' experience to the role and would be an outstanding leader for southern district:
"Andrew has built a high-performing management team in Auckland Central which has achieved significant reductions in total crime and increases in staff engagement," he said.
2009-13: Area Commander, Auckland City Central
2011-13: Armed Offenders Squad commander, Auckland Metro
2006-08: District Deployment Manager, Counties Manukau
2005-06: Sergeant / Senior Sergeant, Counties Manukau
2004: Solicitor, Meredith Connell, Auckland
2001-03: Detective, Auckland metro.
1997-2000: General Duties Constable/Detective Constable, Counties Manukau
1996: Police recruit
- © Fairfax NZ News
Check out what's on in your community or post an upcoming event.
Subscribe to a digital replica of The Southland Times.
Southland Times subscriber news and information.
Click here for information about advertising with The Southland Times.