A long-time Westport cop has quit following the West Coast police restructure.

Sean Judd confirmed today that he had finished work last Friday and he would start work as a Department of Conservation ranger in a fortnight.

"I have been thinking about leaving for a while. Probably what's happened recently provided an opportunity to go," he said.

He and his wife Tracey, the Buller District Council's senior animal control officer, would stay in Westport.


Mr Judd was the West Coast alcohol harm/search and rescue sergeant, based in Westport. The recent police review cut the position and established an area prevention sergeant's position, based in Greymouth.

Mr Judd said police had offered him a job in Greymouth or Westport, but he had decided it was time to go.

"I never wanted to be in police forever and I saw an opportunity for another role I'm passionate about, to give a try."

Mr Judd, 45, has been a policeman for 19 years including the last 12 in Westport.

He said Greymouth sergeant Matthew Tailby would take on the search and rescue role in the meantime. He assumed the alcohol reduction role would become part of the new prevention sergeant's role.

He was unsure whether he would have quit the police if the restructure hadn't happened.

"I honestly have been looking at opportunities. It's a difficult decision to leave an organisation like the police. I would say it [the restructure] probably made it easier," Mr Judd said.

Overwhelming public opposition to other restructure proposals resulted in Karamea keeping its cop and Westport keeping its community constable.

Buller LandSAR's submission on the restructure said losing Mr Judd's knowledge of search and rescue could result in fatalities.

- Westport News