Local folk: Scott Beard

Detective Inspector Scott Beard reluctantly became a household name as he fronted up to media on behalf of Police throughout the recent Grace Millane murder investigation. He has also featured on TV in the Cold Case series and on the Sunday programme regarding a baby kidnapping. On the Coast, the Red Beach resident is known more for his voluntary work over many years at the local football club.
He spoke with Terry Moore about achieving a work/life balance.

I have played football since I was seven years old and am a Manchester United fan. For me, football is about work/life balance. My work is about investigating serious crime but if I’m out on the field, running around coaching, or playing, I’m not thinking about work. From a mental health point of view, I think I’m quite resilient. I’ve been a Police officer for nearly 40 years and that’s long enough not to lose sleep over the job. I can compartmentalise everything: work, life and football.

When I lived on the North Shore I often used to come up and stay at the Police holiday homes in Stanmore Bay and that was my introduction to the Hibiscus Coast. I transferred back to Auckland from Hawke’s Bay in the mid-1990s, and decided to live on the Coast and work in the city. It was natural to coach my four children when they played football – the oldest boy’s first sport was actually rugby, but I talked him around! My children registered to play at the Hibiscus Coast Association Football Club in 1996 and I put my hand up to coach and was soon on the committee – I know that no club can survive without the administration and management side operating effectively. I’ve been president since 2012. My first passion was always playing, but as the children played, coaching became more important. I’ve coached many players over the years and have a national coaching licence. I’m in the Hibiscus Coast Over 45 team and I played for the NZ Combined Services team for a number of years, way back.

I see children playing sport – whatever sport it is – as healthy in terms of their social development, so doing my bit at the football club fits in with my role in the Police. I like coaching the younger ones, the 8-9 year olds, but also enjoy the older teenagers, especially the banter you can have with them. If they’re involved in a sport they are not out in their cars hooning, drinking and taking drugs, simple as that. I love to see children playing football and developing. I am quite strict as a coach – if you give up your time, you deserve a certain amount of respect from players and it’s also about preparing them for the future. I tell them when they are old enough to have jobs, they must get to work on time and be respectful. Sport is also a way to develop a work ethic, because it includes punctuality, discipline and respect. I ended up coaching youth teams for Northern Football Federation teams and NZ Football age grade academies but I realised after failing my international team coaching licence, which took a year of study, that football was never going to pay my mortgage. In any case, I get a huge amount of satisfaction from my day job. Despite the pressures and stress, I never wake up not wanting to go to work.

I came up through the Police ranks and enjoy leading teams solving serious crime but alongside that I liked being involved in the community and being around for my children. As well as coaching football, I coached at Red Beach Surf Lifesaving Club and athletics. In 2001 I came to Orewa as detective sergeant for Rodney CIB and didn’t take a promotion to Detective Senior Sergeant in Auckland City until 2005 when my youngest boy had his driver’s licence. I became a Detective Inspector in 2008. I enjoy the challenge of investigating, trying to find an offender and gathering evidence. I run investigations into some of the worst crimes you can ever see. One that had a huge impact locally was the Joanne McCarthy homicide in Whangaparaoa in 1998. She was murdered in front of her child and a friend’s daughter in broad daylight. I was second in charge of the investigation and it took four months before we got onto the offender. I helped to prepare the prosecution case and the trial went for seven weeks and resulted in a conviction. The satisfaction is in getting a result and helping victims and their families subjected to serious crime. It can largely be a desk job and leading/supervising others but I am also out in the field when I have to be.

Being at the Hibiscus Coast club for so long, some say I bleed green! The growth on the Coast is reflected in our playing numbers. In 1996, there were 180 children playing at the club, aged 5-17 years. In 2018 we had 1000 players, aged 5-19, and 1300 playing in total in winter as well as 1400 in the summer. Like most clubs, getting volunteers is not easy as time is precious these days. It’s a real team effort and volunteers do a tremendous job for the community. The club is in good shape because of all the people who put the time and effort in. I encourage players to give back to the club in some small way. We have grounds at Stanmore Bay that are the envy of visiting teams, who immediately after a game go for a swim at the beach. But our biggest issue at the moment is that field space is under pressure and we already have over 1000 registered for this season. Last year we had more than 90 teams and around 60 of those want to have a field to train on. There is a lot of growth in women and girls’ football too. We liaise with council and use fields at Gulf Harbour, Edith Hopper Reserve and Metro Park. Council has had to do something in the face of the growth in numbers and they just put surround floodlighting on fields 4 and 5 on the roadside for us, which will make a big difference for training this season.

As a Manchester United fan, I am lucky enough to have seen them play a couple of times live in the UK. Last year in July I went to the FIFA World Cup in Russia, which was on my bucket list, and went to the England versus Croatia semi-final and the France versus Croatia final. Another great moment was being in a London pub with one of my sons when England won the quarterfinal.

I stopped coaching my children when they became teenagers, as I didn’t want the coaching to impact on our parent/child relationship. At that stage, one of my boys switched to play league at Raiders, and then rugby, which at first was a hard pill to swallow as I always thought he had potential. My other boys have represented Northern Football Federation and won national titles in those teams – one plays in London for the Kiwi FC team in the Wimbledon League.

What I enjoy most is seeing young players develop and play through the age grades up to 1st team level. Some that I’ve coached since they were five years old are now adults and when they bring their own children to play, they wonder whether I’ll be coaching them as well!

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