Yestreday's Herald carried an interesting backgrounder to the man who will become our next Police Commissioner in April 2011 - it begins:
After a few years behind a desk at police national headquarters, Peter Marshall hankered for a bit of adventure.
He sure got it.
There was a tsunami that claimed 53 lives, an incident in which he warded off 13 machete-armed home-invaders with a ceremonial sword, and the annual rainy season problem of crocodiles straying into the suburbs.
All part of the job for the Police Commissioner of the Solomon Islands. When Marshall and his wife Pamela return to New Zealand in April for Marshall to take up the role of Police Commissioner, he will have served four years in the Solomons.
Though not likely to be called upon to arrange for errant crocs to be "dispatched" (that's police language for shot) he's under no illusions there will be sharks.
Indeed. The role of Police Commissioner is inevitably politcial, and Marshall's appointment has already been the subject of an errant attack by Phil Goff - read on:
Labour leader Phil Goff this week did what Oppositions do by suggesting Marshall would be in the pocket of police minister Judith Collins, citing the shorter than usual (three instead of five years) term of his contract.
Marshall would be more compliant, said Goff, for fear of not being reappointed when his three years was up. Marshall rejects the assertion and says the shorter tenure was his idea and suits because he will then be 61.
Phil Goff reckons the new Commissioner will be "compliant"? Where was he during the terms of Howard Broad and Rob Robinson, who was appointed after Helen Clark engineered the resignation of Peter Doone?
And although Peter Marshall is being cagey about what he hopes to achieve in the role of Police Commissioner, he chucks one morsel out which will give comfort to those of us who are law-abiding citizens, and a little less comfort to those who are not:
He'll give little away about his plans but says he intends to explore ways of culling paperwork to put more police on the streets for longer. "People want to see police officers on the street, they want to see police officers who have a bit of personality and police officers who will actually take action when they see something happening."
That's heartening. Other than from Phil Goff, there seems to be widespread support and approval of Marshall's appointment. It was always going to be interesting to see who was chosen to replace Howard Broad as Police Commissioner.
There has been a widespread public percetion that Broad has been a soft leader of the police, and towards the foot of the Herald story it notes that Broad was not seen by rank and file as a cop's cop. Peter Marshall looks like a very good choice.