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Samoan takes on top cop role in Papakura

The boots at the top of Papakura's police pyramid have been filled by a Samoan for the first time.

Inspector Vitale Lafaele has been appointed to the role of area commander for Counties Manukau South.

He's the first Samoan to gain the command of an area in New Zealand and the first Polynesian to reach the top level in any of Auckland's three metropolitan police districts.

Mr Lafaele has been officially welcomed into the area at a ceremony at Papakura Marae.

The 27-year police veteran says he's excited about taking on the challenges of the diverse blend of rural and urban communities.

His command covers Takanini, Papakura, Clevedon, Pukekohe, Tuakau, Pokeno, Waiuku and Port Waikato.

With the police's focus on communities under the Prevention First policy, Mr Lafaele says he plans to offer the community accountability and objective resolutions.

"Attacking the root causes of crime that affects our communities and being somebody they can look to in terms of taking leadership in things that impact upon them," he says.

"It is a real opportunity to put police, local iwi, communities and multi-agencies around a table and work closely together in what we are trying to achieve for young people - and to make Papakura a safer place," he says.

Mr Lafaele was born in Apia.



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