Policeman does 42 year stretch
Officially on September 4, a Long Service and Good Conduct Award was bestowed upon Senior Constable Graham Gough having been with the police for 42 years.
The milestone means that Graham, or ‘Goughy’ as he is more affectionately known, has earned his fourth star. This clasp is awarded to constabulary staff who have completed a total of 42 years continuous service with NZ Police and, in the opinion of the commissioner, have been of good character and conduct.
Graham joined the NZ Police when he was 19, stepping off the train in Wellington on September 4, 1972, to be sworn in to the police academy.
Though his first choice was to be a dog handler, timing didn’t quite go his way, but his second choice of country policing was accepted with relish. Four years found him stationed at Waipu and there began his association with Mangawhai, that little backwater over that rough narrow road from Waipu Cove consisting of little more than two-bedroom fibrolite holiday baches.
In 1980 Graham and his family were moved to Maunuturoto, then when locals lobbied for their own police presence the Gough family – Graham, wife Sheila and three children – made the move to Mangawhai, their home since 1991.
Given his long association with the area, Graham has built strong ties with services such as St John, Fire and Civil Defence, all necessary for co-operation in times of need and which also made his transition to Mangawhai relatively easy.
In the ensuing years he has seen Mangawhai grow considerably from that sleepy hollow to a popular destination brimming with visitors during holiday periods. The introduction of Art Trails, the Walking Weekend, various musical events and market days are all events which require a watchful eye in case of unforeseen circumstances or over-zealous behaviour.
“During those times people are generally in slow mode,” says Goughy. “However, there have been other serious matters such as fires, flooding, vehicle accidents, robberies and drug-related incidents that require assistance from outside the district but fortunately they don’t happen too often.”
He says great support, vigilence, and the close community spirit have been important elements in maintaining law and order, especially when things happen completely without warning.
“You obviously get to know a number of locals, the hard cases, who’s related to whom and some of their social habits. As much as anything, policing is about keeping people safe rather than necessarily wielding a big stick.”
Perhaps the most trying aspect of the job is job is walking into situations which carry a danger element but not knowing the extent of potential risk. He knows, first hand, the possible outcome of confrontation and has learned caution, keen judgement and the observation of safety rules needed for most situations.
However the pluses certainly outweigh the minuses and he enjoys looking after what he sees as ‘his’ community on a personal basis.
“The most endearing part of the job,” he says “is dealing with youngsters, going to school, being recognised by them and accepting the term of endearment from the children who all refer to me as ‘Goughy.’” says “Graham is rock solid and reliable,”
Police Commissioner Mike Bush. “He has his nose to the ground, knows what is going on in his community. He has high levels of energy, passion and enthusiasm for his job and is loved by his community.”
Graham will be presented with his medal in a ceremony at a later date.
By Rob Pooley