The New Zealand Police are after players. With a strong focus on recruitment, the police see rugby players and other athletes as an ideal fit due to the large number of transferrable skills they possess. Team work, fitness, good decision-making, time keeping, relationship building and performing under pressure are all attributes that are used both in rugby and in the police, which is why they are keen to target players as potential recruits.
As part of preparing players for another career outside of rugby, the Counties Manukau Police have teamed up with their local Mitre 10 Cup team to run a pilot programme that allows players to have an in-depth look at what a career with the New Zealand Police involves. This has been held as part of the players’ Personal Development Programme.
Former North Harbour, Otago and Blues player, Detective Regan Tamihere, who graduated from a total immersion Maori language course while in the force, addressed the team to give them an insight into life and options with the New Zealand Police.
Nineteen Steelers took part in five different sessions with the police in order to help them understand the organisation’s different roles and departments. The sessions involved the players exploring the Police Eagle helicopter and the Police Maritime Unit. They also visited the Police Dog base, where one of the players experienced being apprehended by a police dog. Players also attended the police training facility in Penrose, where they took part in some scenario-based activities.
Among these scenarios, the players had to clear rooms in a training house, then communicate their way out of mock situations with violent offenders by deciding to either diffuse or defend. They then had to explain why they had selected the option they chose. Players also had the opportunity to familiarise themselves with training weapons, including Tasers, pistols and rifles, in a supervised setting.
During other visits, the players were also able to experience a variety of other activities and roles within the New Zealand Police, including ridealongs with front-line officers in the Public Safety, Road Policing, Youth Aid and Neighbourhood Policing sections.
Just like on the rugby field, the players learned that the calmer they were, the better their decision-making process.
As a result of the programme, a number of Counties players including hooker Joe Royal, have decided to join the police after rugby. Royal said, “As a player you sometimes struggle to work out what you want to do after rugby, and this opportunity gave me a better insight into the different roles within the police and will hopefully assist my transition into the force.”
Winger Toni Pulu, who took part in programme, said, “The frontline experience was full on and made me appreciate the variety of skills the police use on their shifts and what they deal with on a daily basis.”
Road Policing Senior Sergeant Jono Chappell came up with the concept and has been the driving force behind the pilot programme. He said, “The police are very keen to encourage sports people into careers in the New Zealand Police due to the large number of transferable skills. The pilot programme is aimed to showcase the wide variety of roles and activities within the police in the hope of attracting a diverse range of people to serve and represent the community.
“For some people, they may feel that they may be ineligible to apply due to a minor indiscretion in the past. We encourage anyone keen on looking at policing as a career to speak with our recruiting staff first to establish whether or not they may, in fact, still be eligible to join,” says Senior Sergeant Chappell.
New Zealand Police also have the ability to support players while they are still playing rugby, as has been highlighted by the number of current serving police officers in teams such as the Black Ferns. They are also keen to assist those returning from overseas to explore the force as a career option and encourage them to get in touch to have a chat.
If you are interested in a career in the New Zealand Police, contact your local Personal Development Manager or the NZRPA Transition, Overseas and Retired Personal Development Manager Fiona.Brading@nzrpa.co.nz or visit 0800NEWCOPS.
The frontline experience was full on and made me appreciate the variety of skills the police use on their shifts and what they deal with on a daily basis - Toni Pulu