Constable Michelle Evans wanted to take a gap year in between finishing school and joining the police.

Unlike most young people taking gap years, the Whanganui woman spent hers studying accounting and business.

Whanganui Police's newest recruit, the 22-year-old is all about keeping active - physically and mentally.

"I kind of just wanted to have, like, a gap year, but I didn't want to do nothing, so I thought I'd pick up a few papers. Just keep my brain working," she said.


Miss Evans knew early on she wanted to join the police, and had a passion for working in the city where she was born and bred.

"I wanted to work with the community that I was brought up in really, and just help people. It's a satisfying job knowing that you're going out there and that's what you're getting paid to do, is help people."

Miss Evans is passionate about giving herself back to the community, and has no plans to leave Whanganui.

"I want my career to be here. I love Whanganui. It's a beautiful, small town and this is where I want to live."

A position in Whanganui for a new recruit became available just as Miss Evans was completing her application to join the police.

She began hitting the streets at the start of November, with her first job being a shoplifting incident at The Warehouse.

"I was excited to see what we do and talk to people, to be out representing New Zealand Police.

"I was just ready to get out there, that's what I'd been waiting for at college, to get out and get on the beat."


Miss Evans wasn't nervous heading out to her first job, and said the supportive atmosphere at the Whanganui station made it a great place to start out in the job.

"Just like any new job, really, I've been trying to find my feet, but this is a really good station to work on and people here are so supportive. Everyone works together and supports each other."

So far, Miss Evans has nothing but good things to say about the job, and said despite some people being hostile at times, they would often calm down when she and other officers began dealing with them.

"When you first go out there they might be wound up, angry, but when I think they see the police arrive they kind of calm down. They know that we're going to have to solve the situation. We're not going to leave until we know everybody's safe.

"I like going to jobs, and the best part is probably going there and people are in a situation where they don't know how to deal with it, or they need someone outside of what's happening to look at a situation and give them a good pathway to go down, and at the end of it they thank you for it."

Miss Evans, who has to do some type of physical activity every day "otherwise it just doesn't feel right", also loves reading books about health or psychology, and likes finding out about "the brain and how people think".

The former Wanganui High School student also loves art; scenery painting being her favourite.

She doesn't have any clear plans yet for her future in the police, and wants to focus on her frontline work for the time being, which she said she loves.

"I'm thinking about going down the youth path," Miss Evans said.

"I find that I can quite easily talk to youth and they're happy to talk to me. I don't know if it's maybe because I'm younger . . . it's easy for me to relate or know where they're coming from."

For the meantime, Miss Evans has a message for Whanganui people she may find herself working with:

"The police have to work with the community. We're here to work with them and make Whanganui a safer place and make them feel safe. We can't do it by ourselves. We need them to work with us."