After more than four decades in the thin blue line, Whangarei Senior Constable Ross Harvey is keen for some part-time work "if anyone wants to take an old cop on".

The Whangarei grandfather reckons he'll probably be the longest-serving cop in Whangarei when he retires in April after nearly 43 years, including 18 years as a court orderly at the Whangarei Law Courts.

He breathed a sigh of relief when the Police Act was changed to remove compulsory retirement at 55. His last day in uniform was last month before he went on leave until April 6 when Mr Harvey will hand over the police property.

After three years in the New Zealand Army, he joined the Ministry of Transport in 1975 as a traffic officer draped in black and white and driving patrols cars around Whangarei.


When the traffic service amalgamated with New Zealand Police in the early 1990s, Mr Harvey moved over and continued doing shift work until a vacancy arose as a prison escort officer in court.

"Speed cameras were introduced when I moved over to police but they later wanted civilians to man them. That's when I applied for a job in court and moved up here (the courthouse) in March 2000."

He also preferred doing an eight-to-five job having done shift work for 23 years.

Mr Harvey laments the fact courts are getting busier with more younger people ending up on the wrong side of the law.

"I've dealt with granddads, dads, and grandsons and each generation seems to become more criminally minded as if this is going to be their career.

"I've seen guys when they were 13 or 14 years old and now they are adults still coming through the courts. It's their upbringing and it's such a shame to see them turning to a life of crime," Mr Harvey said.

He'll miss people he works with in court who he described as "good mates" and the camaraderie they enjoy.

And his plans for retirement?


"A little bit worried about what to do next. May look for some part-time job if anyone
wants to take an old cop on."

Mr Harvey, 67, is keen to rekindle his passion in outdoor bowls - he last played about 20 years ago when shift work got the better of him - but he's still a member of the Onerahi Bowls Club.