Newsmaker: Graham Bell

Newsmaker: Graham Bell
Newsmaker: Graham Bell

This week's News Maker is the former head of the Rotorua CIB Retired Detective Inspector Graham Bell, who has hosted television show Police Ten 7 for the past 13 years. He was in Rotorua this week to film an episode to help catch two robbers of who hit the Pandora Foodmarket five months ago.

Tell us about yourself.

I am these days a tv presenter on Police Ten 7. I am still permitted to retain my rank description from the police as detective inspector (retired).

Joyce and I have three married children and six grandkids ranging in age from 2 to 15.

They are a joy and we love them all dearly. Our main home is in Whitianga but we have an apartment in Auckland because most of my work is there, as are the rest of the family.

How did you get the job hosting Police Ten 7?

I was approached about Police Ten 7 in 2001, which is the year I retired from the police.

It arose out of the documentary being made about Operation Plateau; the Bouma homicide at Reporoa.

I was happy to get involved as I had nothing else planned for my retirement at that stage. Retirement! That almost sounds like a joke now.

What does the role involve and how long have you been doing it?

My part in the programme is as frontman, narrator and crime guide. Each week we examine a serious crime with a police officer and I exhort the viewers to ring in and help.

We are now in the 13th year and I am enjoying it as much as ever.

What do you love about the show?

It enables me to stay in touch with my old colleagues and abreast of modern policing developments.

But more importantly the show is highly effective as a crime fighting tool. I still feel as though I am contributing something. I also relish the freedom of being able to 'tell it like it is' and engender some public interest in catching crooks.

What's been your greatest catch on the show so far?

Too many to single one out. On the programme we all get a huge charge out of the successful results.

You were a Detective Inspector at the Rotorua CIB before retiring. What's your greatest memory of working for the Rotorua police?

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Rotorua. It's a great city with great people. It is probably inappropriate to say that any of my cases were highlights, but some will certainly never leave me.

The murder of Constable Murray Stretch at Mangakino was a real shock for everyone in the police. As was the pointless and callous killing of Beverly Bouma at Reporoa. The theft of a McCahon painting from the Ureweras also brought some real challenges.

What do you miss about Rotorua?

The laid back lifestyle, little traffic, great people, being handy to lots of recreational activities, strong Maori focus, good restaurants, Ngongotaha and good workmates.

What makes a good cop?

Common sense, keen observation and feet on the ground. Everything else has to fall in behind that.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Fishing, diving, golf and a bit of public speaking.

If you could solve one of New Zealand's biggest cold cases, which one would it be and why?

Tracy Ann Patient homicide, Auckland 1975. I worked on it. Still a mystery.

What are three things most people don't know about you.

I play the guitar (actually lots of guitars). I have a Gibson, two Martins, a Maton 12, Epiphone Swingster, a Seagull, a Wolf Electric and an old Yamaha. I am also a bit of a petrolhead/hot-rodder. I have a 1958 international pickup truck with a 421 hp Chev V8 engine. Bright red of course!

I don't like political correctness and trendy new age gutless attitudes, carelessness with language, names and titles.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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