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Punching above her weight

Thursday 2 March 2023 | Written by Supplied | Published in Local, National

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Punching above her weight
Sergeant Sharon Kareroa was selected for the Australia-funded training programme, Pacific Senior Women’s Executive Development Strategy, conducted between September 2022 and February 2023. POLICE MEDIA/23030105

If the Police Service was likened to boxing, then Sharon Kareroa is one officer who is consistently punching above her weight.

Not only has she maintained a well-rounded career as a Sergeant, having already passed her senior level exams four years ago, but Kareroa successfully completed an executive training programme recently, alongside regional participants well above her rank. 

It’s that training programme – a first for the Pacific – which has reinforced the experience she’s gained in nearly 15 years of policing.

Kareroa, one of 24 female police officers serving nationally, was selected for the Australia-funded training programme, Pacific Senior Women’s Executive Development Strategy (PSWEDS), run under the auspices of the Pacific Faculty of Policing (PFP). 

The programme consisted of four phases – three of which were conducted in Sydney, Australia, between September 2022 and February 2023. She joined 14 participants from around the region and although her Pacific colleagues held higher ranks, including at Inspector level, her broad experience over the past 15 years is what helped lift her performance. 

The training, aimed at the most senior level women in Pacific police organisations, is designed to assist those poised to enter high executive roles or have demonstrated the abilities to do so in the future. Kareroa was one of only two female police officers eligible.

She first joined the Police Service in May 2008, having been encouraged to give it a try by a close friend – who happens to be police-related. Since then, she’s also come to appreciate the historic footsteps she’s now followed, as her great great grandfather Terei Glover was one of the first police officers to serve on Mangaia. 

The challenges continue to be welcomed, even though the odds often seem stacked against succeeding. Just two other officers have continued since her original lineup of 10 recruit grads. 

Statistically, for women in policing, the odds have not improved over the years.  At present, the contingent of female police officers is hovering at 26 per cent of the total number of sworn staff. The pool of potential leaders may be smaller but the women in service are consistently high performers.

Since 2008, Kareroa has completed service across the divisions of Frontline and CIB (Criminal Investigation Bureau), and undertaken duties in Intel, Comms, Airport, and the now-discontinued Crime Stoppers. 

Two attachments are under her belt, fulfilling posts at the Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police Secretariat in Wellington, and the Pacific Transnational Crime Coordination Centre (PTCCC) in Samoa. 

Kareroa’s primary focus now lies in prevention, where she’s providing key support in the areas of training, youth leadership development, and domestic violence.

She’s firmly committed to policing and has no doubts about her chosen career, thanks to a well-balanced support network from her family.  As a mother of three, Kareroa, like many of her colleagues, can attest the teamwork that begins at home is a vital key to sustaining a career in Police. 

The executive training in Australia has now enabled a greater sense of her potentially impactful role in the systems of the organisation, and the influence she can wield when it comes to executive decision-making.