Four Police Staff Recognised In King’s Birthday Honours

Published: Mon 3 Jun 2024 08:10 AM
Police Commissioner Andrew Coster has congratulated four members of Police staff who have been recognised today in the King’s Birthday Honours.
They are:
• Detective Niall Deehan, from Wellington DistrictNiall Deehan MNZM (Photo supplied)
• Inspector Freda Grace, Manager – Operations Support based at Police National Headquarters (PNHQ)Freda Grace MNZM (Photo supplied)
• Catherine Petrey, Principal Strategic Policy Advisor, also based at PNHQCatherine Petrey MNZM (Photo supplied)
• Detective Inspector Lewis Warner, from Bay of Plenty District.Lew Warner MNZM (Photo supplied
Also honoured is Thomas Coyle, who held senior forensic roles with Police in Auckland until retiring in 2017.Thomas Coyle MNZM (Photo supplied)
They all become Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM).
“It’s always very heartening to see our people acknowledged at the highest level,” says Commissioner Coster.
“All these recipients are rightly recognised for outstanding work which has improved the safety and wellbeing of members of the public and our own people.
“Their contributions provide a glimpse of the huge range of work carried out by Police staff and the depth of expertise and commitment our people bring to their roles.
“I congratulate them all and thank them for their service.”
Detective Niall Deehan, who is based in Kāpiti, has been an emergency responder for more than 40 years, first in the fire service in Northern Ireland, then for 25 years with the Metropolitan Police before joining New Zealand Police in 2007.
He is a passionate advocate for family liaison and one of the architects of Police’s family liaison approach, building on his experience in liaison in sensitive investigations with the Met.
In New Zealand his first family liaison role followed the Carterton balloon tragedy in 2012. He has since been involved mass casualty events including the Christchurch terror attack, Whakaari White Island and the Loafers Lodge fire in Wellington.
He says he was “the most shocked person in the world” when he heard of his award.
“I have no idea who nominated me and to be honest I think I want to keep it that way. I’ll treat everybody as if it was them who nominated me. I’m exceptionally grateful to whoever that person or persons were.”
Inspector Freda Grace’s many roles in 40 years in Police have included Hamilton Area Commander, Waikato AOS Commander, Road Policing Manager and Prevention Manager. She has relieved as Tasman District Commander.
Her current role has oversight of all Police’s tactical teams, with a focus on ensuring they are properly equipped and supported.
She is a champion of women in tactical groups and led creation of the Critical Incident Liaison Officer programme, supporting staff exposed to traumatic incidents and aiding their reintegration into their roles.
“I’m amazed and very humbled that someone would even think to nominate me,” she says. “I don’t think I’ve done any more than my job.”
She says her role has shifted her focus from directly policing the community to supporting Police staff so they can deliver to the community.
“Why I come to work is to make sure the systems, the processes, the training and the equipment are the best they can be.”
Catherine Petrey has held a number of senior roles across many Policy areas since 2006 but is best known for her expertise in and advocacy for firearms legislation reform.
She led Police’s attempts to reform firearms legislation over many years, aided by her grasp of the regulatory and firearms environments arising in part from her previous experience at employers including Federated Farmers.
After the 2019 Christchurch terror attack, Catherine’s experience and knowledge enabled the rapid turnaround of amended legislation.
She says the honour acknowledges the commitment of many people.
“When I first came to Police, after working in the public service for most of my life, what I really noticed was that it’s an organisation of really committed people who take big and important decisions on a daily basis.
“I’m very pleased to be able to work with such people.”
Detective Inspector Lew Warner, Bay of Plenty District Crime Manager, has served in Police for more than 40 years, providing inspirational leadership in diverse areas of policing.
He says the award is not about him but the amazing people he’s worked with – inside and outside Police - and his family, who have had to endure the sacrifices associated with having a police officer as a husband and father.
“I’m really humbled by the honour, but I wasn’t certain that I actually deserved it,” he says. “I’ve seen some people I really respect get these awards, and then there’s me.”
Lew’s contribution includes leading dozens of serious investigations, supporting vulnerable victims as District Manager of the Child Protection Teams and helping hundreds of probationary constables take their first steps in Police as a leader in Workplace Assessment.
He has made a significant contribution to the community, especially during his time as Officer in Charge at Tauranga Police Station, working alongside community partners including Merivale Community Centre and Blue Light.
Thomas Coyle held senior forensic roles with Police in Auckland from 2004 to 2017 and worked in Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) at many major events including the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami and 2011 Christchurch earthquake.
He was instrumental in the implementation of new forensic techniques and, after leaving Police, established his own business, Forensic Insight Ltd.
Thomas is also honoured for his voluntary theatre work which, he says, was a sanctuary from the stresses of Police work and a way of giving back to the community.
“I’m deeply grateful to have been chosen for this award,” he says.CITATIONS
Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM)
Detective Niall Deehan
For services to New Zealand Police
Detective Niall Deehan has been involved with the Family Harm Intervention Team within New Zealand Police for more than 12 years.
Detective Deehan is an experienced Family Liaison Officer with more than 40 years’ experience in the field across the United Kingdom and New Zealand.
He was instrumental in the development and formalisation of the Family Liaison Officer (FLO) role within Police, which was completed in 2021. He has served as a National Coordinator of a new team of 55 FLO’s nationwide and is a mentor to all.
He has worked on numerous homicides and mass fatalities with the FLO team, including the Whakaari White Island eruption, the 2019 Christchurch terrorist attacks, the Carterton balloon crash, and the 2023 Loafers Lodge fire in which five people were killed.
He was involved with providing support to families who lost loved ones to the MH17 plane crash, providing ongoing support for nine years. He was awarded an Australian Federal Police Commissioner’s Commendation for his efforts in that investigation.
He has been New Zealand Police Liaison for the family of Sergeant Matthew Ratana, who was murdered in a London police station. Detective Deehan also served with New Scotland Yard’s ‘Racial and Violent Crime Task Force’ for several years, investigating hate crime and high-profile murders which were racially motivated.
Inspector Freda Grace
For services to New Zealand Police
Inspector Freda Grace has served 40 years with New Zealand Police and has been providing safety support to staff.
Inspector Grace has been a supporter of women on specialist squads and has provided support and resources to help them reach their potential. This has resulted in the number of women in specialist squads increasing from fewer than 10 in 2017 to 35.
She has also developed several business cases to acquire safety equipment, to greatly increase the safety of all staff. This has included individualised night vision equipment for all Armed Offenders Squad (AOS) members, in replacement of the two to three antiquated sets of equipment per team. This has resulted in every AOS member having full awareness of activity when deployed at night.
She established the Critical Incident Liaison Officer programme, to provide support to AOS members who have responded to traumatic incidents, implementing sponsorship to ensure its future success. While the programme was being developed, she travelled to locations immediately after critical incidents to provide support to AOS members.
She has led the subsequent reintegration programme, which slowly reintroduces staff to work situations they may encounter following exposure to traumatic incidents.
Inspector Grace helped coordinate fundraising efforts for a Sergeant who required $100,000 for lifesaving surgery in Germany, fundraising more than the target.
Catherine Petrey
For services to New Zealand Police, arms control and the community
Catherine Petrey worked in the agricultural and fisheries sectors of New Zealand, Australia and Papua New Guinea from the 1970s and since 2006 has held several senior policy roles with New Zealand Police.
Mrs Petrey has been central in providing advice to Ministers of Police and the Government for amendments to the Arms Act 1983 to improve the safety of New Zealanders and frontline police officers.
She contributed a high level of technical expertise to the development of the Arms (Military Style Semi-automatic Firearms [MSSAs] and Import Controls) Amendment Bill, passed in 2012. She established in 2012 and was inaugural Chair for five years of the Police-led Firearms Community Advisory Forum.
She was Police lead in submissions to the 2016 Law and Order Select Committee ‘Inquiry into issues relating to the illegal possession of firearms in New Zealand’, later writing briefings to lawmakers highlighting gaps being exploited.
Following the 15 March 2019 masjidain terror attack, she and her team applied their expertise to enable the enactment of reformed firearms legislation to prohibit MSSAs 26 days after the Christchurch attack, with subsequent involvement in developing and passing further related legislation until 2022.
She actively contributed to the establishment of the Independent Police Conduct Authority.
Within the community, Mrs Petrey has volunteered more than 35 years to dog training organisations.
Detective Inspector Lewis Warner
For services to New Zealand Police and the community.
Detective Inspector Lewis Warner has been a member of New Zealand Police since 1983 and has been involved in a variety of operational and leadership roles within Police and the community.
Detective Inspector Warner is the District Crime Manager for Bay of Plenty, providing oversight and direction for response to all serious crimes in the region. He has led dozens of serious investigations including Operation Assembly in 2017, Operation Omanawa in 2020, Operation Skerion and Operation Ubertas in 2018.
As District Manager of the Child Protection Teams, he has provided support to the service and delivery in support of young victims and worked with Oranga Tamariki, Ministry of Health and Crown prosecutors.
He was Officer in Charge of Workplace Assessment Teams between 2007 and 2010, leading hundreds of probationary constables in the Bay of Plenty region, and training more than 700 Police staff on new interviewing models.
He was Officer in Charge of Tauranga Police Station, where he worked with the Merivale Community Centre, Blue Light, Community Patrols and iwi between 2010 and 2013.
He has received a Gold Merit Award and Commissioner Commendation from the Police Commissioner and has received several District Commander awards.
Detective Inspector Warner was the Officer in Charge of the Adult Sexual Assault Teams.
Thomas Coyle
For services to New Zealand Police, Disaster Victim Identification and theatre
Thomas Coyle worked for the Metropolitan Police in London from 1988 to 2004 in forensic roles, before holding senior forensic roles with New Zealand Police in Auckland from 2004 to 2017.
Mr Coyle has been a Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) expert at many events including the 2004 Asian Boxing Day Tsunami, the 2010 Fox Glacier air crash and the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.
He has been instrumental in the implementation of new finger/palmprint recovery techniques in New Zealand, including his published research into the use of Acid Violet in examining major crime scenes.
His business Forensic Insight Ltd., established in 2019, provides the public insight into the crime scene investigation process. He has taught forensic science nationally for the Ministry of Education and has provided forensic exhibit courses for the Auckland District Law Society.
He has volunteered in Auckland’s performing arts sector. He has co-managed Centrestage Youth Theatre, supporting workshops for ages five to 17. He was a judge for the Northern Area Performance Theatre Awards from 2015 to 2017.
He has been stage manager for several major theatre productions including The Producers, Beauty and the Beast, Kids on Broadway and Hair. Mr Coyle has held numerous other behind the scenes roles for productions at Auckland theatres since 2008.

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