Saturday, February 24, 2024

Ross Meurant: End of an Era

As the timbers begin to fall, a new light emerges though the canopy which protected our once great country.

Well do I recall as a young sergeant, standing near the wreckage of another motor accident, saying to myself: ‘If I reach 40, I’ll be lucky’.

Time passes. Trumpets blare and heroes fall.

Last week, the recent deaths of five cops resonated with the author.

Murray Morrisey QSM former Inspector O/C Dog Section.  One year older than me.  My first week in the job at Princess Street Police Station, Auckland, Murray, having graduated 3 months earlier from Police Training School, Trentham, who had emigrated from Gisborne, directed me who had emigrated from Dargaville: ‘Make me a coffee’.

Later we clashed on the rugby pitch; Murray a stalwart of North Shore Rugby Club.

Ted Cox, former Detective Superintendent. A few years younger than me.  We played rugby together for Takapuna – Gallahar Shield days.  Ted had emigrated from Wellington as a detective senior sergeant.  Dementia got him. A difficult time for his family and brutal ending for a very decent chap.

Cushla Watson, once a subordinate of mine and a decade younger but ultimately a Detective who was assigned to investigate the Rainbow Warrior, sunk in 1985 at its moorings at Marsden Wharf in Auckland, by two explosive devices set on her hull.  The French Connection. Cushla was one of only two cops sent to Switzerland and France to consummate the enquiry.

Max Jones, younger than me, a former Senior Sergeant Rotorua, passed on in Rarotonga, following his brother, Holly Jones, former Detective Inspector who passed way a few days earlier in Australia. Holly and I did a promotional course together at the Police Collage.

Peter Netlzer, former Constable Red Squad. Of Samoan lineage, not physically a big fella but definitely, he had a big heart. Loyal and reliable.

Cancer, heart and dementia, according to a medical maestro with whom I communicate, are the three biggest terminators of those who avoid the guillotine of car crash, work accident or shot accidentally by a mate while deer hunting.

As one reflects on various profile crimes and events, I was part of, during the same time frame odyssey as the above:

Crewe homicide – lead by Detective Inspector Bruce Hutton – now deceased;

Regional Crime Squad lead by now deceased leaders John Hughes and Graham Perry GM;

Drug Squad lead by now deceased Bryan Stewart and later by Bruce Hutton.

Red Squad, now minus 3 members due to suicide, and others due to natural causes.

Former Detective Superintendent Willie Shanks, Superintendent Peter Woods, Inspector Ash Edwards, who were the only three who came to my side following an incident, when as the Duty Inspector armed with a .38 sub nose, I faced down a bank robber armed with a sawn-off shot gun – whom I did not shoot but would have been justified in so doing under the laws of the land.

These champions ran their last race a few years ago now.

What police fills these shoes today? 

“Appearance Commands Respect”, was the mantra of Detective Inspector John Hughes; the same standard was applied by Red Squad.

Today, some police, tattoos and dread locks, look more like gang members? 

In a country where in many cases, hardened criminal elements use juvenile stooges too young to be incarcerated, to commit crimes, and by this ruse ensuring that they avoid the guillotine of imprisonment?

In a country where ethnicity now looms, seemingly as a barrier protecting transgressors?

I acknowledge, the END OF AN ERA is nigh.

Ross Meurant BA MPP Former Police Inspector. Former Member of Parliament. Former Diplomatic Representative. Current partner


Anonymous said...

Ross, I am going to focus on the paragraph (quote) -

"In a country where in many cases, hardened criminal elements use juvenile stooges too young to be incarcerated, to commit crimes, and by this ruse ensuring that they avoid the guillotine of imprisonment?"(end quote).

One has to ask - "Are you referring to the Ram Raids of Auckland, that had juvenile offenders committing crimes that involved stolen motor vehicles, implements to break & enter etc"?

When the data of the who/how (age of offenders) was published in the NZMSM - I am sure that general Public at large, also asked who/how - what was being down. But hang on "the perpetrators struck again". Not only in Auckland (repeatedly), then Hamilton and elsewhere.

One has to ask how a 12 - 15 year old would know -
- how to steal a car, which could be easily taught - but whom (the AA??)
- how to drive a motor vehicle with out attracting the attention of Police Patrol on the road
- how to "break & enter a business", especially the ones targeted
- how to leave the scene, by car again without attracting the attention of a Police Patrol
- and if changing vehicles - now how would they know how to do that?

Clothing that is easy, 'Hoodies cover everything" as long as you do not look at CCTV cameras!

I thought there was a Law that said - " Aiding & Abetting a Crime and (potentially) being the recipient of proceeds from a crime - was an offence that could warrant an arrest'. ?

I am sure people will sympathize with you over the loss of former work Colleagues - but my "finger is pointed at that one paragraph" - it begs questions to be asked of current serving Police.

Ray S said...

No matter what others say, heroes all.


Chris Gollins said...

Ross - Another - Tony Letica (Ret Supt - ex Wgtn /Auckland / OC Wairarapa/Levin - Dist Comm Hawkes Bay - passed 19.12.23 one day after sister Janice and husband John were killed in Rotorua crash. He was on your Inspectors Course where you blitzed the TV interview - body language training.
A great piece you’ve written Ross.