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February 2009
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Crimestoppers yields ‘juicy stuff’

Policing in London’s East End where talking to the Old Bill was a no-no gave Auckland City’s Catherine Gardner a firsthand appreciation of the value Crimestoppers brings to criminal investigations.

Catherine joined the Metropolitan Police in 1989. At the point she decided to return to New Zealand in 2002, she was a Detective Sergeant with the Met’s child abuse team.

She’s now Officer in Charge of Auckland City District’s File Management Centre (FMC).

Crimestoppers UK, set up more than 20 years ago, was just part of the policing furniture, Catherine says.

“It was particularly effective in areas like the East End – once the domain of the notorious Kray twins – and still a tough nut to crack in the 1990s.

“A lot of people didn’t like talking to the ‘filth’ but they were the ones with the best information.

“The beauty of Crimestoppers is its anonymity, which is a very powerful motivator for people. We got some really juicy stuff from Crimestoppers UK.

“I liked the fact the Crimestoppers call centre in the UK was taking our calls, as they’re very experienced at culling out information that’s not useful.

"I figured we’d get some good stuff,” Catherine says.

One of the unexpected spin-offs to come from Crimestoppers is the closer working relationship that’s developed between the FMC and the CIB.

“CIB staff come in and say ‘hey if you have anything on this...’ or ‘look out for information on that...’. Our staff now feel they’re more a part of the investigations that are going on. I like the fact we feel more involved.”

Catherine says Auckland City has received some excellent information through Crimestoppers.

“It’s another tool for police and we’re very keen to make the most of it.”

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