In his six months away, the South’s top police officer has been in the thick of responses to a national tragedy, and a national epidemic.
Superintendent Paul Basham returned to his role as southern district commander on Monday, after a six-month secondment to police national headquarters in Wellington.
He took on the acting assistant commissioner role to focus on a ‘‘revamp’’ of police intelligence work, but soon found himself working as part of the response to the Whakaari/White Island tragedy, and the Government response to the Covid-19 outbreak.
‘‘There’s something about being joined to a collective purpose which is for the good of all New Zealanders, it’s really motivating and really inspiring,’’ he said.
‘‘For the first two weeks, when we were really staring down the barrel of a real crisis … being part of that and being able to work with some really clever people, who were highly motivated to make sure the country survived, was a real privilege.’’
Some of the initiatives in Wellington as part of that work were starting to filter down to district levels, he said.
They included an increased focus on looking after the most vulnerable members of communities.
During his time in Wellington he also developed a better understanding of how central Government worked, which would help in his current role, he said.
‘‘It was a real education for around how the Government works in Wellington, and the benefit of having really good mutual relationships, or partnerships.’’
Otago Daily Times