Ex-cop marks 10 years on TV

Catching criminals comes naturally for former Bay of Plenty cop Graham Bell.

The retired detective inspector has spent the past 10 years on television screens across the country hosting Police Ten 7, which is celebrating it's anniversary this month.

Throughout the past decade more than 1000 wanted faces and about 330 unsolved crimes have appeared on the show leading to the arrests of about 520 people.

Most people only know Mr Bell from his role on the popular television show but it was a high-profile Rotorua murder which landed him the television gig.

In 1998, Mr Bell led the investigation into the murder of Reporoa woman Beverly Bouma.

Her killer David "Blue" Poumako and three others - Dillon Hitaua and young brothers Mark and Luke Reihana, went to the Boumas' Reporoa farmhouse on November 30, 1998. The motive was burglary and to steal money using their bank cards.

But Poumako took Mrs Bouma into a room and shot her.

Poumako died in prison at the age of 27 from a heart attack while serving a life sentence for Mrs Bouma's murder.

Television production company Screentime approached Mr Bell and asked him to front a show on the murder, the success of that prompted them to invite him to front Police Ten 7.

"I retired from the police force in 2001 and in 2002 we started Police Ten 7," Mr Bell said.

He still had strong ties to the Bay of Plenty.

Mr Bell said he was surprised but delighted that Police Ten 7 had been on the nation's television screens for the past 10 years.

"It's very gratifying that every week, Police Ten 7 viewers get more rat-bags and mongrels off the streets and help make New Zealand a safer place," he said.

"Ten years is a great effort for any TV show and it just goes to show that people love to watch the show."

Mr Bell said even though he often covered cases which involved serious injuries or even murders he wasn't shocked by what he saw.

"Things people do don't shock me anymore but doing the show I am never failed to be surprised."

He said one case stood out because of the huge response police received after the show went to air.

"There was a rape near the Avon River in Christchurch about five or six years ago. This guy dragged a woman under the bridge, luckily she could see a tattoo of his and we put a description together which was on the show," he said.

"Someone recognised it and identified him ... ."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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