Crushing cars option in fighting boy racers

By Claire Trevett

Police Minister Judith Collins is seriously considering crushing boy-racers' cars - and inviting the drivers to watch as it is done.

Ms Collins will talk to Police Commissioner Howard Broad today about a wish list for cracking down on boy racers which was sent to her by Canterbury police.

The meeting follows a series of incidents in the city, including a run-in in which an officer's car was ambushed, bottled and shot at on Friday night.

"I am absolutely seriously looking at the crushing of cars which have been confiscated, in situations where there is repeat boy racing - in other words, illegal street-racing behaviour."

Ms Collins said she had sent the police wish list to Prime Minister John Key and Mr Broad, and would discuss it with her colleagues this week to decide which suggestions to adopt.

She said she had spoken to Sergeant Nigel Armstrong - the Christchurch officer whose car was attacked on Friday night.

"I am in absolutely no doubt at all, that if not for his good driving and a piece of good luck he could now be intensive care in hospital or he could be dead," the minister said.

"We are not going to put up with it, and if it takes a few cars being crushed to get the point through, that may be one of the options."

The options included "cease and desist" orders under which police could take further action - including confiscation - for repeat boy racers.

Ms Collins said the previous Government had introduced some measures, such as fines for noisy vehicles. But they were too easy to get around. "There's no point fining people who don't pay fines when you've got other action to take."

Other options included demerit points on boy-racer licences and temporary confiscation of cars.

Cease and desist orders had been used in Britain to good effect and would allow police to take more action if the same drivers were found congregating, street racing or endangering public safety.

The moves follow ongoing problems with boy racers in Christchurch, where police mounted a crackdown on Saturday night and warned they would continue.

Mayor Bob Parker's apartment building was targeted after he called for tougher measures last month.

Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove's house was also targeted in 2007 after he made similar calls.

Transport Minister Steven Joyce has promised to visit Christchurch to see the problem, and the Transport Ministry will report to him this year on proposals to curb noise levels.

Almost half of all tickets issued for noisy cars in the past year were in Christchurch.

- NZ Herald

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