Strong community support for Sergeant Bede Haughey and Warkworth police continues to emerge following allegations of unsatisfactory performance.
Sergeant Haughey, the former Officer-in-Charge at Warkworth police, is currently on leave and has been temporarily replaced by Sergeant Scott Sherer.
The allegations suggested there was a negative culture in the Warkworth police and the local force had lost the confidence of the Warkworth community.
Rodney Police Area Commander Mark Fergus said currently there was an employment process underway with regards to the allegations.
He said that as police had the same privacy obligations as any other employer in New Zealand, they were unable to comment any further at this stage.
Meanwhile, Gary Diprose the founding director of Springboard Community Works, which offers a variety of programmes to assist at-risk and vulnerable youth in Mahurangi, says he was “gutted” that Bede was no longer currently working in the community.
He said Bede had been a champion for Springboard for more than 11 years and this had been critical in ensuring community support.
“Because we are working with kids who may be giving the police and the community a hard time, sometimes communities can be opposed to the work we do,” he said.
But he said Bede’s influence and participation with Springboard had persuaded influential community members of the value of the organisation and its ability to cut crime.
“That’s made a big difference to Springboard’s strength today,” he said.
Support for Warkworth Police has also come from the One Warkworth Business Association.
In a letter to police management, the committee for the association said they unanimously wished it to be noted that it did not consider there to be a “negative culture in the Warkworth Police” nor that the Warkworth business community had “lost confidence” in the Warkworth police.
“The Warkworth community enjoys a high level of police community engagement. This is a significant factor in low levels of crime and high levels of public satisfaction with the police service where criminal activity occurs,” the letter said.
“Another factor that cannot be over looked is the experience that the senior members of the Warkworth Police team bring to their work.”
Strong support for Sgt Haughey and the Warkworth police has also emerged on the Mahurangi Matters
Facebook page in response to an earlier story that appeared when the allegations first surfaced.
Posts supporting the local police outstripped complaints by a factor of 10:1.
Area Commander Mark Fergus backed that assessment.
“Police have great teams of officers working from our rural stations right across Rodney,” he said.
“These officers are all dedicated, and work hard every day to ensure these communities are safe and feel safe.”