Whether stationed in Flaxmere, Havelock North or under the Hastings CBD clocktower, for more than three decades Senior Constable Bruce Grimshaw has been helping the community.

And from 2pm today, he's off duty.

Of all his roles during his 33 years with Hastings Police - from a front-line constable, or youth education officer - being a Flaxmere community constable was a career highlight.

When he took the job in 1987, community policing was a new concept allowing him a blank slate to work from.

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Armed with a radio which "worked sometimes", he would "toddle off to Flaxmere" and work alongside agencies such as Work and Income and Plunket to help residents. His work with Neighbourhood Support groups also helped reduce crime in the area. "Burglaries dropped to virtually nothing because the public went out there and basically policed their own streets," he said.

His service was acknowledged in 1990, when he received the Queen's New Zealand Commemoration Medal after being nominated by the MP and people of Flaxmere. Recognised as a leader in his field, he also lectured for a number of years at community constables' courses.

For most of his career, Mr Grimshaw had seen "the really good side of life" but there were difficult moments.

"When you come to work, just because you do community policing ... you're still a police officer.

"If the balloon goes up and there's a serious crime we all pitch in and help.

"We have that special bond because we're all police officers and we know we need to look after one another and its something you do without thinking."

Support from his colleagues extended to the officer's time spent as a Fifa international football referee.

Today, he will be "working until the very last second" at Hastings Police Station's front desk.