Policeman dies after BMX fall

Flags fluttered at half mast outside Northland police stations marking the death of a senior policeman known by many as "one of the good guys" yesterday.

Detective Sergeant Andrew Clubley, 49, died in Whangarei Hospital early yesterday morning after suffering serious head and neck injures in a fall from a bike on the Whangarei BMX track at Pohe Island on Sunday.

Police are still investigating the crash and would not comment further on the circumstances.

The death has stunned many who worked with Mr Clubley, who was also known by colleagues as "Clubs".

Mr Clubley had been in the police for 29 years, serving 24 of those in Whangarei. The father of three had been heading the child protection squad but over the years had led hundreds of investigations as part of the Criminal Investigation Branch.

Northland Police District Commander Superintendent Russell Le Prou said he had told staff of the tragic death at a meeting at Whangarei Station yesterday. The mood at the station had been very sombre.

"You become very close to your colleagues because it's that type of job and this was a huge shock," Mr Le Prou said.

"Often we deal with chaos but he would bring order to chaos. It's a special person who can give 29 years' service to the community. He was one of life's good guys."

Detective Senior Sergeant Dene Begbie, who had worked with Mr Clubley for 18 years, remembered him as a man always willing to help others.

"He drew respect from colleagues and no matter what the situation was he remained calm and a was a bloody good man."

Criminal investigations manager Detective Inspector Kevin Burke said Mr Clubley was very controlled and methodical in his work and explored all options and provided sound judgement.

"Not only did he serve the police well, victims of crime could rest assured they were being well looked after."

Northland's Crown Solicitor Mike Smith said the law office was shocked and stunned after hearing about Mr Clubley's death.

"For many of us he was also our friend and we will miss him," Mr Smith said.

"He exemplified the finest traditions of the police. He was one of the good guys and will be sadly missed."

The club that owns the bike tracks at Pohe Island in Whangarei, where two cyclists have died in serious crashes is undecided on what, if any, additional safety measures are needed to prevent further injury or fatality in future.

The Whangarei BMX Club's committee met on Tuesday evening and issues such as additional signs, fencing of the BMX track and gates over the ramps were expected to be discussed.

However, club president John Romer said his members were grieving for Mr Clubley and trying to cope with the situation rather than thinking about safety measures at the track. Mr Clubley's funeral will be on Saturday.

- Kristin Edge of the Northern Advocate

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