Would you like pips with that?
Dili Travel Blog› entry 29 of 86 › view all entries
It has been just over three weeks that I have been the UNPOL (UN Police) National Traffic Manager for Timor Leste and this job sees me sitting at about the 4th level of Police Management in the country.
That’s not really the issue though, the big thing is that the Timor Leste Government sees the traffic system as being the number 1 priority and that means everybody is looking at the National Traffic Unit to lead the way to fix the problems for the Traffic Police, the Transport network and the Road Transport legislation.
It is no small problem and there will be no quick fix!
My rank in
When a person joins the Police they are a Recruit.
After 14 years as a constable I received a long service medal and a single chevron on my epaulette for the rank of Senior Constable. I have been happy here at the bottom of the structure because I am often asked my opinion on things but I don’t have the responsibility of having to know the answers.
I have been an instructor for various roles over the past 10-14 years and that has been enough to keep me entertained.
The next level up from Constable (or Senior Constable) is Sergeant. The Sergeant is like a foreman in charge of a team. NZ police Sergeants have 3 chevrons on their epaulettes and that is the rank that they gave me when I was deployed.
The reason we are all raised one rank is because it is thought our skills as police are above those of other nations and of course that is the reason we are invited to go on these missions to help rebuild other nation’s police departments.
Next is the Senior Sergeant. They are typically the bosses that run the stations. Something like a Manager of a factory. Senior Sergeants have epaulettes with a woven crown and are the top rank of Non-Commissioned Officers in the NZ Police.
The first Commissioned officer is then the Inspector.
An Inspector is like an area Manager or the boss of a number of factories. They run areas and sub-districts within the police. Typically an Inspector would oversee a handful of police stations and about 150-200 staff. Their rank insignia is 3 pips on their epaulettes.
Next is a Superintendant, one pip and a metal crown.
A Superintendant is like a Regional Manager. They are our District Commanders and the people that run departments within the police. Policy writers and planners.
Then we move up to the Assistant Commissioners. NZ Police has 3 of those. They are the Departmental Managers, i.e. Human Resources, Operations. Their rank insignia is a metal crown and crossed swords.
The Commissioner is the top ranking Police member in
When I got this job here with the UN I knew it would come with a promotion from NZ. The UN mission here in Timor Leste is a “no rank” mission. That means a Constable may be Team Leader of a team made up of Commissioners.
The reason they have it like this is because the skill sets from around the world are too widely spread. Also no country has the same rank structure. Many of the nations represented here have ranks based on military structure so we have Corporals, Commanders, Majors and Generals.
If you look at the National Traffic Manager for the NZ Police it is a Superintendant position. As a Senior Constable that puts this job 4 ranks higher than I am if I were at home. NZ Police recognise this and today they promoted me to Inspector to show how much they appreciate the work I am doing.
The Contingent Commander (Superintendant), Mike made the announcement at breakfast and handed me my new set of pips. As I struggled to put the first one on Donna came around the table to help me with the second. I felt very embarrassed that I had been a Commissioned Officer for less than a minute and already a Senior Sergeant was helping me dress and making a fuss!
Those there at breakfast were all very pleased for me and they all started to call me Sir as is done for Officers. NZ Police are not really the ceremonial type of department but it was a nice kind of teasing from my good friends and workmates here with me. None of them were keen to apply for this position when it was advertised but I’m sure they would be able to do just as good a job as me.
When Lim picked me up across the road from the Hotel he didn’t make any comment so I wasn’t sure if he had noticed I had replaced my stripes with pips.
At the office my Timorese Language Assistant walked in the door and as we greeted each other, immediately I noticed his eyes flick down to my shoulders and he asked me what was new about the shiny metal on my epaulettes. It was a very strange thing to behold.
Now it’s time to prove I deserve it.