An "unprecedented" number of recruits are expected to enter the Hawke's Bay police over the next five years, meaning one in three staff will be new to the profession, Sergeant Greg Macklow says.
The Hawke's Bay recruiting co-ordinator, field training unit supervisor and work place assessor said police had new staff arriving on a monthly basis and current projections for this year have their newest members being around 50 per cent females, a mix of races, ages and backgrounds.
However, they are still encouraging more people to apply.
"We are progressively becoming more diverse and representative of our different cultures but would still love to see more quality applicants coming from across all demographics, he said.
"The bottom line is we still want the best of the best and urge all groups out there to encourage your best people to come forward and help keep everyone safe. If you think your community is under-represented, misunderstood, not getting a fair deal, step up, get in the game.
"You'll be welcomed with open arms. Our communities and people can't thrive without safety and security both in their homes, business and on the streets."
After 38 years of policing in the Bay, Macklow says he has seen "huge gains in the insight and respect our staff have for different cultures and groups as a result of learning directly from having officers along-side us from those varied groups".
Eastern District Police Commander Tania Kura echoed Macklow's sentiments, noting that they were tracking well to achieve target numbers, for all constabulary staff, by the end of the financial year. Forty-eight front-line staff are forecast.
She said the Eastern District, which includes Gisborne, has received 36 recruits so far in 2018/19, with a further six expected to come from the wing graduating in June.
"Between June 30, 2017 and April 30, 2019, the number of constabulary women in Eastern has increased by six."
Upon graduation, new recruits start in the Field Training Unit, she said.
"This is a supportive coaching environment which is a great start for all those who will be on the front line. After a month or so they progress into front-line roles such as public safety teams or road policing duties.
"As well as increasing the number of officers in response roles the additional recruits have allowed Eastern District to move experienced staff into areas such as family harm prevention, youth policing and serious crime investigations."
Macklow says there has never been so much support wrapped around new staff and conditions of employment are more flexible than ever to cope with the demands of different lifestyles and stages of life.
Groups such as the woman's advisory network have various initiatives to support and encourage woman through all phases from recruiting to District Commander.
While a mentoring programme has officers taking on one-on-one mentoring relationships with recruits through to being well established in their careers and an Iwi liaison and Māori officers have been "wonderful role models" encouraging more and more Māori to take up the challenge.
"Our systems can now see applicants progress thru the process alongside their "buddies" for peer support."
Kura is thrilled to welcome the new staff, including recruits.
"They are joining a team of committed and professional officers here who strive every day to make a difference and make New Zealand the world's safest country.
"I would urge anyone considering joining police to give it a go – it's a diverse and interesting career where you get to make a difference in your community, and no two days are the same."
Hawke's Bay police will be at the 2019 Hawkes Bay Career Expo at Pettigrew Green Arena from May 21-22. Otherwise, visit www.newcops.co.nz for more information.