Service medal for a one-of-a-kind personal assistant

Dunedin police non-sworn staff member Anne Routledge with her New Zealand Police Meritorious Service Medal for professionalism, high ethical standards, reliability and contribution to the police force. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Dunedin police non-sworn staff member Anne Routledge with her New Zealand Police Meritorious Service Medal for professionalism, high ethical standards, reliability and contribution to the police force. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Anne Routledge is the first non-sworn police staff member to be awarded the New Zealand Police Meritorious Service Medal, but she is not broadcasting the achievement from the rooftops.

The 63-year-old was one of six New Zealand Police staff awarded the new medal, and while she is delighted and honoured, she said the medal itself would be worn only on special occasions.

''I'm very proud to have received it, but I'm not one to blow my own trumpet.

''It's not something that I would like to show off. It's so special, but it's something I'll only bring out on special occasions like Anzac Day and formal police ceremonies.''

Ms Routledge has been the personal assistant to a regional commissioner, five district commanders and many relieving commanders during the past 23 years at the Dunedin Central police station.

Before that, she was a personal assistant at a bank, but when it was bought by another bank, she decided to look for different career.

''When this job came up, I thought it looked really interesting and I haven't looked back since.

''My first big job was the Aramoana debriefing - it was absolutely massive. I thought, oh God, what am I doing here.

''It was very traumatic with people and [a policeman] being slain. It was a totally new environment for me to be in.''

Despite the job being traumatic at times, Ms Routledge said she continued in the job because of the people she worked with.

''I think it's mainly the people, but it's also that there's never two days the same - there's always something happening somewhere.

''It's also because every time a new district commander starts, it's kind of like getting a new job because they are all such different characters and they do things so differently.

''And, of course, technology has moved so fast over recent years. When I first started, they were just moving from typewriters, believe it or not, to computers.

''Keeping up with the technology has kept me absorbed in the job.''

Southern District commander Superintendent Andrew Coster said Ms Routledge's service to successive district commanders and regional commanders had been ''absolutely outstanding''.

''She is one of these people who gets on with doing her job without fuss, but in doing it, is incredibly helpful to a really wide range of people here within the district headquarters.

''It's marvellous to see her receive this acknowledgement, particularly to be the first person to receive a Meritorious Service Medal.

''Staff from far and wide have been very pleased to see Anne get this award as an acknowledgement of the really important contribution that our support staff make within policing.''

- john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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