For 20-year-old Caleb Watt, the desire to join the police can be traced back to at least age 5.

"I think there's a video my parents have got when I was 5, of saying I wanted to be a police officer, running around in my little uniform," he said.

Mr Watt is one of four police recruits who started at the Whanganui Police Station on Monday.

Fellow recruit Jessica Parkin, 23, realised as a teenager she wanted to be an officer, while 23-year-old Nicholas Martell figured being an officer would be "way more exciting" than his original goal of being a teacher.

I'd love to be a dog handler . . . I just can't think of anything better than bringing a dog to work with you.


Former All Black Glen Osborne planned to join the police at age 23, but chose his sports career instead, returning to join the force at the age of 44.

"I used to love watching Hill Street Blues. Ever since watching that programme I always wanted to be a police officer.

"About three years ago I asked the wife if I could reapply. She was a bit shocked, thought I was a bit too old, but here I am. I'm happy.

"My nephew said when I was going down to police college 'You can't go down there, you're too old, uncle."

Mr Osborne is a Whanganui man, and Ms Parkin moved to Whanganui from Blackburn two years ago. Mr Watt and Mr Martell are both from Palmerston North.

Mr Watt said he wanted to join the police "to try and make a positive difference in the community".

He didn't know yet what area in the police he might like to branch into, saying he would prefer to find his feet first and work the front line for a few years.

Ms Parkin thought the Armed Offenders Squad interested her, and she also had "done a bit of forensics". Family violence was an area that interested her as well.

Mr Martell hopes to join the dog squad.

"I'd love to be a dog handler . . . I just can't think of anything better than bringing a dog to work with you."

Mr Osborne was interested in working with children and youth.

"I've always liked, you know, children. I've been brought up in a large family, I've always got nephews hanging with me . . . I think I can add value to that area in the police."

Ms Parkin hoped to "have an impact on people's lives".

"I'm just really looking forward to starting," she said.

Senior Sergeant Andrew McDonald said a new mentoring programme had been in place for about 10-15 weeks, which paired up new recruits with senior police staff for their first five weeks on the job.

Whanganui has two other new recruits: Ruth Moorehead, who started five or six weeks ago, and Matthew Punnett, who started 10-12 weeks ago.