There's a new constable in town and he's determined to make a difference in the community he grew up in.

Born in Hawke's Bay Constable Michael Baty, 39, was one of 59 new constables who paraded at the Royal New Zealand Police College last Thursday after completing his studies.

Mr Baty said he had been toying with the idea of joining the police force for a long time after he saved two men from a burning car wreck 15 years ago.

He had been driving home from a hospitality shift in the early hours of the morning when he spotted a "mangled" car wreck on the side of a Napier road.


"I thought someone had a crash there and then I noticed a flicker of light coming out of the bonnet as I was driving past and thought oh God that's just happened now," he said.

Throwing his car in reverse, Mr Baty said he backed up and called 111 but could see the car was already starting to catch alight.

"I ran down there and found two guys unconscious; one on the passenger side and one in the driver's seat. Luckily the car door was open and I reached in and dragged them out."

Mr Baty said by the time he got them to safety and laid them on the wet grass they were badly burnt as the car had gone up in flames quickly.

"I remember the two police officers turning up at that incident and there were just so cool, calm and collected,

"They just came in and dealt with the situation very professionally and I remember talking to them afterwards thinking that they were really neat guys."

Mr Baty said the men he saved from the burning wreck eventually tracked him down to thank him and that he bumped into them around town from time to time.

Having now completed the 16 week police course to qualify for the force, Mr Baty said he was excited to start work on Monday and hoped he could make his three children proud.

"I just like what the police stand for to be honest. They're doing a job that no one else wants to do. They're out there keeping the community safe and putting victims at the heart of everything they do."

Family harm was a key driver for Mr Baty, who said he wanted to lend a hand to those who couldn't help themselves and push them in the right direction.

"I want to move in the direction of family harm to help offenders change their ways and move in that direction. It's quite a big problem in New Zealand, not just Hawke's Bay, and it's a cycle that needs to be broken and hopefully I can help in that cycle."

Mr Baty said he would be working as a frontline police officer between Napier and Hastings, and was likely to continue bumping into the men he saved all those years ago.