Long wait for new officer ends

AL WILLIAMS
Last updated 05:00 06/02/2013
craig hedges
AL WILLIAMS/ Fairfax NZ
SAFER COMMUNITIES: Constable Craig Hedges with his wife, Joanne, and their daughter, Sophie, 3.

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St Andrews has a new policeman after a 12-month wait.

Constable Craig Hedges took sole charge of the station two weeks ago and is looking forward to working with the community.

He and wife Joanne and their four young children have moved into the police residence behind the station.

The shift follows a five-year stint in Ngaruawahia, Waikato, where he was second in charge of the traffic unit. Mr Hedges originally comes from Invercargill and started policing in Gore eight years ago.

He says the family has been welcomed by numerous community representatives from St Andrews and the wider South Canterbury area.

The move there was thought out in terms of the children's schooling, he said.

His oldest child is 14 and is attending Roncalli College, while two others are at St Andrews Primary School and the youngest is still at home. Mr Hedges says the more relaxed lifestyle in terms of policing also attracted him back to the South Island.

"I have an interest in this community and want it to go forward."

Mrs Hedges has taught piano and violin and plans to continue teaching.

"I've had a chat with a few locals and want to keep the contacts going," Mr Hedges said.

"You need your eyes and your ears out there. What I like about this job is you meet people from all walks of life."

He also plans to find time to carry on his passion for golf, squash, fishing and boating.

"We've had look around Kakanui and Oamaru, and had a look through Tekapo to suss out camping spots."

Alcohol and speeding are his two main concerns on the road, he says.

"I've come from an area where the death rate on the road is really high; we had 20 fatalities in my patch in one year. My view of driving is that it is not a right; it's a privilege.

"Anyone between Waimate and Pareora can expect to see me out on the road and I will be issuing tickets; my biggest dislike is alcohol, then speed. It's changing attitudes at the end of the day, enforcement and education."

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- The Timaru Herald

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