Sergeant Scott Baker is in no doubt he has big shoes to fill.
Baker recently took over from sergeant Brett Meale as the community services supervisor in charge of the Howick police station in Fencible Drive.
He leads a team of six officers, including the community constables for Howick, Pakuranga, Botany, and Highland Park, in his new role.
Meale held the position for a number of years but has been transferred to another role.
Baker says his predecessor did an “awesome job here over the past five or six years”.
“I’m hoping to continue and build on that work and I feel like I have big shoes to fill.
“The relationships Brett built with stakeholders such as the local business association and others was very solid.
“That’s something I noticed immediately, the respect he had here.
“Being a local boy, as Brett also is, I’m passionate about this community.
“I love Howick and I love working in this station.”
Baker attended Howick College and has lived his whole life in east Auckland.
He grew up in a house close to Howick Beach.
His most recent previous role was as the supervisor in charge of the Otara neighbourhood policing team in south Auckland for three years.
He’s worked in the Counties Manukau East Police area for more than a decade.
Baker says his new position in Howick has both similarities and differences to the role he previously performed on the neighbourhood policing team.
“I really enjoyed the job in Otara. This is not a huge transition but it’s something I’m excited about.”
He says his primary focus is to foster partnerships with the local community, which is something Meale had done very well.
“We want people to trust us so they come to us and they know we will help them,” Baker says.
“Community cops are there to build relationships with groups in the community.
“We’re reliant on the consent of the public to do our jobs effectively and we need residents to keep their eyes and ears open for suspicious activity.”
With the summer season well under way, Baker says his advice to local residents is to be vigilant, remove all valuables from their vehicles, even when parked in their driveway, and keep an eye on others.
“Covid brought people together,” he says.
“We hope they’ll continue to look out for their neighbours and check on them.
“If it looks ‘off’ it probably is. If a crime is happening now, people should phone 111, and if it’s already happened, phone 105.
“If they want to remain anonymous, they can phone Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”