Last beat for Hokitika cop

By Cheryl Riley

After more than 20 years on the beat Hokitika policeman Kyle Scott will call it a day today.
Mr Scott arrived in Hokitika as a sole-charge traffic officer in October 1984, operating under the Ministry of Transport before joining the Hokitika police station as a community constable with the amalgamation of the Ministry of Transport and police in the 1990s. He is now part of the Highway Patrol.
He said he initially had not planned on staying so long on the Coast but is now so entrenched he is a re-elected member of the Westland District Council.
“I enjoyed the lifestyle and people so much I made it my home.”
Mr Scott said he had seen huge changes to police methods over the years, “some for the better, some not so”.
“I have always had a social conscience and I believe it is important to be fair and understanding with the people on the street and listen to their issues —and that’s what I have done in both my career in police enforcement and local government.
“I have given out a lot of tickets over the years but along the way I have also probably given a lot of warnings — way more than my bosses would have liked.”
He said his recent high-profile backing of the campaign to keep the Ross police station open had also caused “a bit of friction” with his superiors.
Although he felt that modern policing had lost some of “the personal touch” he credited his ability to maintain good relations with the general public as helping him immensely, sometimes in very tricky situations.
“I specifically remember a night-time arrest in Revell Street, when several members of the public gave a helping hand, when there was no back-up available. And that has happened a number of times since I have been on the Coast.”
The 58-year-old added that his policing career had been “fantastic” and he would miss the camaraderie of the people he had worked with within the police, but it was now time to step aside for a younger generation.
He would still concentrate on his remaining roles as a councillor and member of Hokitika band Big Wheelie and the Hubcaps.
“Forty years in government service is quite a while. I am going to enjoy a break from fulltime employment, which will leave me more time to devote to community organisations and I look forward to those challenges with some eagerness.”