Police pathways launches in Tauranga

Teacher Sarah Pinchin and District Commander Superintendent Andy McGregor with some of the students who will take part in the police pathways programme. Image: Daniel Hines.

A new police pathways programme has opened up for students in the Tauranga area.

The programme was launched at Bethlehem College last week, with eight schools from around the region set to take part.

Sarah Pinchin jumped at the opportunity to lead the programme.

Students will learning about the history of the police, the role of police and the different careers within the police.

Sarah says they’re also hoping to get many guest speakers in from the police.

“The local police have been incredibly supportive and open to coming in and being part of it which is amazing.”

They will also experience the physical training as well because, as Sarah says, that’s the part of the recruitment process and something they need to uphold.

“I’m hoping that each of the students get a passion for what they want to do and perhaps even consider the police, or any kind of community service or community kind of orientated things.

“The values for the police are critical for great citizens so if these students can walk out with some sense of that and maintain some sense of that then I think we are in for a good ride ahead.”

The programme is NZQA accredited and students will be getting credits for it. 

Participating schools include Bethlehem College, Aquinas College, Mount Maunganui College, Tauranga Boys and Girls College, Papamoa College, Otumoetai College and Te Puke College, with Bethlehem Collage grounds being the host for it.

District Commander Superintendent Andy McGregor says one of the outcomes of this programme is the hope that some of the graduates will want to join the police force.

“The other outcome is they get a very good understanding of what policing is about and it’s about prevention.

“It’s about taking every opportunity to prevent harm and victimisation right across the community. And that’s what we’ve got to do, and we’ve got to do things different.

“So the big thing with these young kids is they think the police are not too bad. They’re okay. They’re actually doing a great job with what they do, because a lot of the time we speak to them in the street it could be quite adversarial, whereas we want to make it an enjoyable experience more than anything else.”

The programme came about in Tauranga because teachers from different schools around the district wanted to give students the opportunity to do the same thing as students in Rotorua  - where the programme has already been running for the past two years, says careers and transition education chairperson Mikaere Smith.

“We had what we call a Trades Academy, which is run through the local polytechnic – Toi Ohomai, and they were unable to offer it this year so we thought let’s get together as a group of schools – as a CATE organisation to then create our own course.”

Each school has selected a handful students who have then gone through an intense selection process by each school and the careers advisors.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for education within our school network and also the relationships with the police and our families,” says Mikaere.

Andy says he sees this programme as a fantastic thing.

“There’s a bit of study involved so they’ve still got to use their frontal lobe which is good, but it just broadens their experience and they find out what our role is, they get to get around and experience policing first-hand.”

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