Bruce Grimshaw: a familiar Flaxmere face
Bruce Grimshaw is a familiar face around Flaxmere; that’s because he has been around a while!
The former policeman trod the beat in Hastings for more than 30 years, including a long stint in Flaxmere where he was the suburb’s first community cop. At that time, community cops were a new initiative which meant Bruce could develop the role as he wished. For him, that meant a focus on building relationships and trust with the community. “I had really strong community support. You have to put the time in to get to know Flaxmere, but once you do the people are really loyal, supportive and embracing.”
He carried a truncheon, as required, “but I knew I wouldn’t need it and I never had to use it”.
And that is why he is back, albeit in a different role – he is now one of Flaxmere’s much-loved City Assist team as a Kaitiaki.
It was not the plan. After heading into retirement in 2016 with an amazing career behind him, including being awarded the New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal and the New Zealand Police Commissioner's Silver Merit Award, both for his exceptional work with the Flaxmere community, he was ready for a long trip exploring Europe, but COVID put paid to that.
And then his mate Clint Adamson, also a former policeman and now Hastings District Council’s head of security, asked if he would consider joining the team part-time.
He is loving being back in Flaxmere, and those strong relationships he built up over his career are still important. “I’m catching up with the children and grandchildren of people I knew back when I was the Flaxmere community cop.”
He is a fan of the City Assist model, which includes Kaitiaki focused on public facilities in Hastings and Flaxmere. “Our role is to interact and help where we can; build up that trust and confidence so when things go wrong for people they will talk to us; interact with us. If you care about a suburb and its people, they will too.”
So, how is part-time work fitting in with retirement? Bruce laughs. It’s morphed into full-time.
It is not really surprising; he is passionate about being involved in the community and he has always been a busy man. Back in the day, when he wasn’t policing, he was refereeing football, including at international world championships and the 2000 Sydney Olympics.