Fire fighter Andrew Martin in action during a touch football match between the police and the fire brigade yesterday
Fire fighter Andrew Martin in action during a touch football match between the police and the fire brigade yesterday

Fun and games all under control of top policeman

By DAVID MOASE

AT nearly two metres in height, Chief Inspector Shane Cribb is a big man who now has an equally big responsibility on top of his regular police work.

For the next three years, Mr Cribb will be the local co-ordinator of the Australia and New Zealand Police and Emergency Services Games, to be held in Coffs Harbour for a week in October, 2008.

The games, which are held every three years, are expected to attract 3000 competitors from police, fire, ambulance, customs, State emergency services and corrective services departments throughout Australasia and Papua New Guinea, and their supporters.

Competition will be held in 45 different sports using facilities throughout the city.

Mr Cribb said having the games in Coffs Harbour had many benefits for both competitors and the city.

"The competitors are looking forward to showing off their fitness," he said.

"They also want to show how they fit into the community outside their working time.

"Having the different emergency services branches competing together gives us a chance to meet and interact in a social atmosphere, whereas we would normally only get together at the scene of a crime or an accident."

The Coffs Harbour games is expected to be a major economic boost for the local economy and will be only the third held outside a metropolitan area.

The mayor, Cr Keith Rhoades, said this was a vote of confidence in the city.

"Winning the Police and Emergency Services Games shows we are right up there with the big cities," he said.

"We are able to compete with them on a regular basis and win on a regular basis.

"Coffs Harbour has a range of facilities, headed by the international stadium, that allows it to continue to attract big sporting events.

"If you look at the calendar of events between now and 2012, it is already very impressive, with events such as the Australian Touch Titles and the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships in 2010-2012.

"We are picking up big events one by one, but at the same time we are also after smaller events that attract only 100 people."

While professional sportsmen regularly make news with bad behaviour on sporting tours, including the infamous Bulldogs' visit to Coffs Harbour in 2004, Cr Rhoades expects things to go more smoothly in 2008.

"With so many competitors from the police and emergency services departments in Coffs Harbour for the games, I would expect all of them to be on their best behaviour," he said.



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