You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Police class of '81 reunite in London

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 13/07/2016 By Lloyd Jones

Thirty-five years after police cadets at Porirua tossed telephone poles and formed human pyramids in front of Prince Charles, 11 of them who are now senior officers have received long-service awards from him in London.

But they ruled out repeating the feats of strength and agility they performed in 1981 when the prince officially opened the new Royal New Zealand Police College.

The officers received their long-service and good conduct awards at his Clarence House residence on Wednesday.

In 1981 they were part of Wing 25 at the police college and their cadets' gym display involved tossing telephone poles, forming a human pyramid and performing beam strength and agility tests as the prince, the wing's patron, watched on.

Superintendent Barry Taylor was one of those cadets and is now based in London as the New Zealand Police liaison officer.

The other 10 officers paid for their trips to London, bringing family members with them for the special royal occasion.

Supt Taylor said receiving the awards from the prince was a great honour.

"It's incredibly significant, 35 years within the organisation, I think you can see from my colleagues we're all immensely proud to be here, having achieved what we've achieved," he told NZN after the award ceremony.

"To be here with our friends and family, I don't think it can be any better."

Supt Taylor chatted with the prince about the 1981 event as he received his award.

"He spoke to me on parade and he's done his homework very well.

"We had the pleasure of doing a gymnastics display for him and fortunately we don't have to replicate that today," Supt Taylor said.

Sergeant Michael Morgan, a prosecutor at Manukau, recalled being "thrust into the limelight" as an 18-year-old cadet at the 1981 event and said the prince asked him if he was keeping up his fitness after their gym display.

He was able to report he had flown over last year for the London marathon.

"This is unbelievable, New Zealand has a very strong tie with this part of the world and we're just so proud to be here," Sgt Morgan said.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush was at the ceremony and told NZN it was not only a special honour for the officers but an honour also for the force in general.

He said he assured the prince that his patronage of Wing 25 remained special to the force.

Seventeen of Wing 25's 58 graduands are still serving with police, with Supt Taylor being the most senior and three having risen to the rank of inspector.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon