More young Dunedinites join chase for police jobs

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A surge of young Dunedin residents have put up their hands to join the police.

The rush to wear the blue uniform comes after a summer recruitment campaign targeting 18- to 24-year-olds.

Three times the number of Dunedin residents applied to join the police in February compared with the same month last year.

Eighteen people listed Dunedin as their contact address on their application form, compared with only six from the city during the same period last year.

There were 47 Dunedin applications in the first three months of this year, compared with 28 for the corresponding period last year.

This mirrors a sharp increase in applications nationwide.

Around New Zealand there were 1973 applications in the first quarter of this year, compared with 1117 during the same period last year.

February was the most popular month with 710 applications, 366 more than last year.

Constables Brianna O’Connell and Reon Wharerimu know the application process well.

They were Dunedin residents before applying for the police and wanted to work in Dunedin.

Const O’Connell (24) started work in October 2015.

She said the opportunity to move within the police force and change roles appealed to her.

“It’s a good career where you can move.

“There’s so many different career options within the police.”

She had to wait a year between completing her application and going to Police College.

“You have got to have a bit of patience and persistence but it’s all worth it in the end.

“It’s such a worthwhile career.”

Const Wharerimu (32), who started working in August, had to wait for about two years before he could join the police in Dunedin.

“I think it’s good to wait. It means you want it more.”

He said being from Dunedin was an “asset” when it came to meeting the public, as he already knew people from around the city.

“You know the fabric of the people, little shortcuts. You can utilise those networks.”

It also helped break down the barriers between the public and the police if someone needed help, he said.

He enjoyed the different aspects of the job, particularly meeting new people.

“One minute you’re arresting someone, next minute you’re helping someone.

“I get to do stuff that no-one else gets to do.”

Police deputy chief executive people Kaye Ryansuccess of the police recruitment campaign had exceeded expectations.

January was also a busy period for recruitment teams, as people often reflected on new careers over the summer break.

A police spokesman said yesterday police would be deploying 880 constabulary staff across New Zealand over the next four years as part of the Safer Communities investment package.

The Southern region (Otago and Southland) would get 37 new staff. Where the staff go would be up to the district commander.