Don't kick Rickards while he's down - Tamihere

The head of a trust considering employing former policeman Clint Rickards has said he doesn't like seeing a man kicked while he's down.

West Auckland urban Maori organisation Waipareira Trust has said it is negotiating with Mr Rickards, who was cleared in the High Court of sex charges, for a part time job to reduce the crime rate among Maori youth.

Mr Rickards resigned as assistant police commissioner in November last year, after three years on suspension while sex charges were resolved.

He was acquitted in the High Court at Auckland in March 2006 of raping Louise Nicholas in the 1980s.

In March last year he was also acquitted on sex charges against another woman.

He remained suspended on full pay.

He was still on full pay in October last year when police launched an internal disciplinary inquiry into his conduct.

His resignation the following month effectively stopped the inquiry.

Waipareira Trust chief executive John Tamihere said the trust was beginning a new youth development programme.

Mr Rickards was "more than welcome to participate in that if we can come to terms", Mr Tamihere said.

It was not a full-time job and Mr Rickards had had several job offers, he said.

"It is just a matter of whether we can utilise his undoubted experience and skills in dropping youth offending in our area and lifting education," he told Radio New Zealand.

"He brings a huge and distinguished background in the police.

"He has faced the full force of the criminal justice system. He has been accredited by the New Zealand Law Society (to become a lawyer).

"What we do in our community is to look for people which might be able, through force of experience and background to actually apply some of that experience to dropping youth offending."

He said Mr Rickards would not be a youth mentor.

"He'll part of a multi-disciplinary team from social workers all the way through to clinical psychologists."

He said the team was aimed at switching kids off crime and onto a more positive lifestyle.

Mr Tamihere said Mr Rickards had the right to redeem himself after he had faced the full onslaught of the criminal justice system.

He said some people did not like giving a person another chance and kicked them when they were down.

"I don't," Mr Tamihere said.

- NZPA

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