Te Whare Taonga o Kororareka

Gibby : A Decent Old Bugger – #133

Community policing had its own flavour in the forties, liquor control especially. Russell Museum recently received a memoir written by a police constable’s daughter – Joy Gibbs. Her father, Eric Joseph Gibbs, also known as “Gibby” was the policeman here from 1941 to 1959. Here’s an extract: “Dad seldom wore his police uniform in those days, as he used to say everybody knew  who he was and he was not breaking any police regulations by failing to appear in uniform. This New Year holiday we were having a dance to raise funds for the local tennis club. A couple of visiting yachtsmen present produced a couple of bottles of beer & seeing Dad standing nearby, very thoughtfully and courteously invited them to join him & enjoy a beer to quench his thirst on such a hot summers night. Dad thanked them for their kind hospitality but declined their offer & suggested perhaps if the local policeman was about he wouldn’t like them caught in possession of intoxicating drink in the vicinity of the dance hall. They in turn thanked him for his advice but said they had been told he was a decent old bugger & would probably tell them to take their grog somewhere else to consume it. Whether they ever found out Dad’s identity we never knew.” The photo is, a rare one perhaps, of Gibby in his uniform.