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Ops to admin a satisfying move
As Deputy Commissioner Rob Pope heads into retirement, his thoughts are with the people he has served with during his 36-year career.
“From all the different challenges I’ve faced, my enduring memory is the quality of the teamwork and the way police have this unique ability to meet any challenge head-on,” he says.
“I’ve learned policing is an art and the attributes are passed on by good teachers.
“I’ve been exceptionally lucky to be guided throughout my career by people who understand what policing is about and have been able to impart it in a way that has certainly stood me in good stead.
“I hope that I, in turn, have been able to impart some of that knowledge to others.”
Rob’s first posting was to his hometown of Christchurch. He proceeded through the ranks, largely in Canterbury, earning the respect of colleagues as both an investigator and a boss.
He came to national headquarters as National Crime Manager in 2002 and became Deputy Commissioner – Operations in 2006.
As a detective, he worked on some of New Zealand’s most high-profile cases, including investigations into the death of 20-year-old Lisa Blakie in 2000, the murders of Olivia Hope and Ben Smart in the Marlborough Sounds in 1998, and the “poisoned professor” case in 1992.
Some of these cases remain among the highlights of his career. His tenure as National Crime Manager saw others, such as raising Police’s interception capability and covert policing programmes to international standards; leading establishment of the National Forensic Pathology Service; driving capability for palm print recognition and the introduction of Livescan technology in fingerprinting.
His “short but rewarding” time as Wellington District Commander reinforced the need for standards, consistency and leadership through all ranks, he says.
Moving from the operational to administrative sphere was “a shock and a shift” but he is pleased with his achievements as Deputy Commissioner – for example, putting the National Intelligence model in place; developing Organised Financial Crime Agency of New Zealand; planning policing arrangements for Rugby World Cup; helping frame the Policing Excellence programme and the response to the Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct.
“I’ve really enjoyed the past five years as Deputy Commissioner in a way I never thought I would,” he says.
“My working relationship with Howard Broad has been excellent and between us some really significant foundations have been put in place for future administrations.”
Rob says he still retains his enthusiasm for Police. “I believe we have an organisation that staff and public alike can be very proud of.
“From day one it was a huge privilege to join Police and serve the people of New Zealand. Thirty-six years on I still hold that privilege very, very dear.”
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