Anna Leask

Anna Leask is senior police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Ghost chip wristbands: Have you got yours? (+videos)

You can't eat ghost chips, but our cops have taken to wearing them.

Rubber wristbands featuring an anti-drink-driving message were issued to officers during recent road policing training sessions at police national headquarters in Wellington.

The black bands have the words "Stop a mate driving drunk, bloody legend" and "ghost chips" printed on them.

The police are giving them out to the public and many officers have decided to wear them, too.

National road policing bosses adopted the wristband idea after similar ones were made to promote the Safer Communities Together campaign.

In 2009, Auckland police dog handler Sergeant Guy Baldwin became an internet sensation with a memorable appearance on the crime-stopping show Police Ten 7.

While Mr Baldwin spoke with a suspected car thief, the conversation shifted to buying pies from the local service station.

"At three o'clock in the morning, you're buying a pie from the BP station. What must you always do?" he asked.

"You must always blow on the pie. Safer communities together."

Those words of caution went viral and even ended up on the front of T-shirts. Police also decided to use the slogan, printing it on wristbands.

Following the success of a New Zealand Transport Authority television advertisement in which the ghost of a teenager who died driving drunk offers his haunted friend a chip, another batch of wristbands was whipped up.

The idea for the latest wristbands came from Lesley Wallis, national road policing communications manager.

She said they were a very low-cost and low-key way to support the advertising campaign.

"They are intended for police to give to the public when they are talking to young people in schools, expos, community engagement opportunities etc," Ms Wallis said. "They have proved to be hugely popular. Some police officers wear them, too."

Ms Wallis said the wristbands were no longer being made and there were no plans for more.

"The advertising campaign that these wristbands support was hugely successful and resonated with the young people we were trying to reach. The wristbands are a simple way of extending that reach a little bit further."

Police Ten 7 clip:

- NZ Herald

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