Youth support officer looking forward to long-sought role

Constable Katie Haldane is Invercargill’s new school community and youth services officer. PHOTO:...
Constable Katie Haldane is Invercargill’s new school community and youth services officer. PHOTO: BEN TOMSETT
Nearly as far back as she can remember, Constable Katie Haldane wanted to be in the police.

Now in her seventh year with the organisation, the born and bred Southlander is Invercargill’s newest school community and youth services officer, one of three in the region, and a job she always wanted.

Const Haldane began in the role in October, and though still inexperienced, she looks forward to making a positive impact on the schools she grew up attending and interacting with.

"I’m so passionate about it - I’m only new, but I can see all the school community officers have something different that they’re able to offer ... I’m quite looking forward to being able to put my own magic on things."

Const Haldane will be the link between police and schools, train school traffic safety teams, and lead classes and courses, including the Love Me Not programme, created by the late Lesley Elliot whose daughter Sophie was murdered by her boyfriend in 2008, to teach year 12 students about understanding healthy relationships.

"It’s a very important role because it’s about prevention as opposed to intervention - preventing things that may happen down the track, as opposed to being there at the time when it was happening.

"It’s really important for me personally, and I know for the police that it’s very important that the tamariki see police in a positive light."

Growing up in the Catlins, Const Haldane said she has always been passionate about the Southland region "which is amazing, because I’m a very outdoorsy person".

Following high school, she studied an automotive engineering course at the Southern Institute of Technology and worked several years in the local automotive trade before heading abroad for an overseas experience, leading to a stint as a travel agent.

After that, she decided it was time to chase her long-term dream and apply to join the police.

Since then, she has worked with the rural and road policing units and the family harm team before taking up her current position.

She said she looked forward to building relationships through her role and contributing to a positive relationship between tamariki and police.

"It’s so important to me that children can see me positively, feel like I’m approachable, or any police officers are approachable - and that when they see us they feel safe."