Community Scoop

Eastern District officers receive Royal Honours

Press Release – New Zealand Police

Two Hawkes Bay police officers who have developed and implemented a range of long running youth, victim and prevention initiatives are recipients of the Member of New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) in the New Years Royal Honours list announced …“Eastern District officers receive Royal Honours for youth and prevention work ”
Two Hawke’s Bay police officers who have developed and implemented a range of long running youth, victim and prevention initiatives are recipients of the Member of New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) in the New Year’s Royal Honours list announced today.

Sergeant Su Robinson, currently a member of Hastings’ Public Safety Team, and Senior Constable Sue Guy, currently a field intelligence officer in Hawke’s Bay, receive their awards for services to New Zealand Police and youth.

It’s a triple celebration for Eastern District as Mrs Sandra Ibbotson, the co-founder of Napier Community Patrol which works closely with Police, receives the Queen’s Service Medal for services to the community.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said the awards are richly deserved and illustrate the drive, energy and enthusiasm that the recipients all have in making a positive, tangible difference to the lives of young people and the wider Hawke’s Bay community.

“One of the most heart warming initiatives developed by Su and Sue is Wahine Toa, a supportive holistic programme focused on improving the wellbeing, education, safety and self esteem of young abuse victims.

“This initiative including regular camps has been running for 14 years and has been picked up by Blue Light branches in other parts of New Zealand and Australia.
A similar concept, Tame Toa, has been developed for young male victims of sexual violence.”
Commissioner Bush said the officers live and breathe the New Zealand Police values of professionalism, respect, integrity, commitment to Maori and the Treaty, empathy and valuing diversity.

He also praised the Mrs Ibbotson’s service in coordinating Napier’s Community Patrol since 2006, growing the group to more than 270 volunteers to becoming the largest community patrol in New Zealand.

Sergeant Robinson and Senior Constable Guy say they’re stunned and humbled at the award.

“We saw an opportunity when working in Youth Aid to make a difference to young people’s lives, turning around minor offending and addressing more serious problems,” Sergeant Robinson said.

“It’s not easy for young teens who have been victims of sexual or other abuse.
They often feel alone and isolated by their peers.

Taking away small groups of victims in a safe, supportive and non judgemental environment does a huge amount for their confidence and self esteem.
“Nearly 160 teenagers have been through Wahine Toa.
It’s a great thrill to see the programme picked up elsewhere.

It’s an even greater thrill to be stopped when I’m out and about by some of our young women and to see that they are doing well.
“The boys too, some of them gang members, know and respect us for getting involved.”

Senior Constable Sue Guy said she’s very proud to receive the MNZM, tinged only with sadness that her mother isn’t alive to share her recognition.
She’s the third in her family to receive a Royal Honour – her father has a QSM and her great grandfather was the recipient of an MBE and OBE.
“It’s so rewarding to work with young people and see them develop and take some positives from really awful situations,” she said.

“It warms your soul to see young girls grow throughout the Wahine Toa programme.
They’re with us all week, and we introduce a range of speakers, counsellors and activities which many have not had the chance to experience or been previously receptive to trying.”
“Adolescence is a difficult time for many teens, more so for those who have been bullied, abused, have anger issues or low self esteem.
We don’t judge, we tackle some difficult subjects, encourage and support.”
Referrals come from CYF, police family violence and sexual abuse teams and local schools.
Business and community support has also helped in supporting the programmes.
Senior Constable Guy is also heavily involved with a regular trail bike ride fundraising event for Hastings Blue Light and with Sergeant Robinson developed in 2004 the youth driver education programme.

She’s also actively involved with the Te Ao Marama Graffiti Art Programme and was a founding trustee of Te Ao Marama Roopu Trust, helping secure premises for an artistic ‘safe space’ for young people.

Mrs Sandra Ibbotson says coordinating 270 Community Patrol volunteers is like running a business.
She’s rapt by the award – and by the dedication of her volunteers who range in age from 20 to 87 years.
“We’re like a big family and are all very proud to do what we can to help police and our community.”

Rostering patrols, monitoring CCTV camera activity, office support work – anything to help prevent and deter offending, she says.

“My husband Brooke is so supportive to me and this award is as much about him as it is me.”

Mrs and Mr Ibbotson were both awarded a Commissioner’s Certificate of Appreciation by then Police Commissioner Howard Broad in 2010.

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