Community coming together


Support from the local community has enabled Waikato Police investigating Friday night's assault against a Kawhia officer to identify one offender while withdrawing charges against another man.

Western Waikato Area Commander, Inspector Paul Carpenter, said the identity of an attacker described as wearing a blue top or shirt who is alleged to have knocked the officer to the ground with a blow from behind has been established thanks to the public's response for information in the media.

"Enquiries in relation to formally establishing what role this person played in the attack are continuing and this identification has been as a direct result of assistance provided by the local community concerned about the attack on a person they describe as 'one of their own'.

"At the same time Police yesterday withdrew charges against a 21-year-old man arrested near the scene of Friday night's attack. This is as a result of information received from witnesses and other enquiries and is a good example of the robustness of such investigations."

Mr Carpenter said an indication of the strong level of support for Police in Kawhia was the outcome of a community board meeting yesterday which resulted in a unanimous vote of confidence in the Kawhia Police officer who was attacked.

"In addition to the support from locals, the enquiry team have been buoyed by the support shown by visitors who were in the area at the time of the attack and it is this combined community support that is making all the difference as the enquiry continues."

The victim of Friday night's attack is described as recovering well and is currently on recuperation leave.

The officer reiterated his thanks for all the messages of support and his wish for his privacy to be respected.

"As the enquiry progresses I would like to thank all those people who have assisted us with information or with messages of support.

"There are still people we would like to speak to in relation to this matter, particularly people who may have taken still, video or cell phone footage of the incident at about 6pm at the Kawhia wharf."

Anyone with any information or images of Friday night's attack is asked to contact Detective Sergeant Steve Hudson of the Te Kuiti Police on 07 858 6200.

Alternatively, information can be left anonymously with Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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