While most residents were sleeping, 50 people in Northland were woken early yesterday to the sound of police banging on their doors to chase up outstanding warrants to arrest.
Police in the Whangarei and Kaipara District from all ranks were out executing search warrants at the crack of dawn, hoping to find wanted people while they slept in their beds.
Whangarei police teams followed up on 40 warrants to arrest people in the district for a variety of crimes, including burglary and domestic violence. They nabbed 14 justice-dodgers, and discovered leads to follow on others who were not at home when the dawn raids occurred.
Senior Sergeant Cliff Metcalfe said the focus was on people with a high rate of offending.
"We are targeting high volume offenders, to stop recidivist crime. These are the top offenders in the Whangarei District. We have up to five warrants to arrest on some of these."
Officers ranging from front line staff to senior leaders contributed to the early-morning Operation Fire alarm, which included eight warrants being chased up in the Dargaville area.
Police arrested three people they were searching for, and two others came forward to the Dargaville station after hearing word on the street that the sting on wanted criminals was being carried out, Northland District Police communications manager Sarah Kennett said.
Whangarei/Kaipara Area Commander, Inspector Tracey Phillips, said this operation was not a one-off, and police would continue to follow up arrest warrants. "This operation is a reminder to people with outstanding warrants to hand themselves in voluntarily rather than waiting for us to come knocking on their doors in the early hours."
Police also found several dogs in poor condition on a Tutamoe property and reported this to the SPCA.
There are over 1000 outstanding warrants for arrest in the Whangarei District, Mr Metcalfe said, and yesterday's operation was a concentrated effort with a long-term goal of bringing these people before the courts.