Anna Leask

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

Police brakes on boy racers

Senior Constables Alan Hooper and Sarah Thorn, Constable Murray Farrell and Sergeant Paul Gray. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Senior Constables Alan Hooper and Sarah Thorn, Constable Murray Farrell and Sergeant Paul Gray. Photo / Brett Phibbs

A new road crime unit is putting the brakes on boy racers in West Auckland and the North Shore, impounding 21 cars during their first month on the road.

The unit was set up to tackle boy-racer activity and is made up of road policing specialist officers from highway and motorway patrol and traffic units. They have now been operating for 37 days and as of Thursday they had prosecuted 26 drivers for boy-racer activity including burnouts, street racing and generally dangerous driving. They have 158 files active and that number grows almost daily.

"It's more than just boy-racing, they are not just young people having fun, they're out there committing crimes every time they do these acts," said Waitemata district police relieving road policing manager Acting Inspector Mark Fergus.

"We've had a lot more calls since we started. We've done letter drops around some of the higher risk areas and that's been greeted really well by the locals. The community has had a guts full of this behaviour. It's affecting everyone and it's a proven killer of innocent people."

Problem areas include petrol stations and empty shopping centre carparks but the hot spots were "sporadic" and all across the district.

Police could not be everywhere, so they were encouraging people to report on boy racers.

"The public can help us with this by giving us information about what they've seen and the registration numbers of the vehicles."

If we have units in the area we will come right away, but if we can't the information will be passed onto the road crime unit to follow up. We weigh up the evidence and if what we have is sufficient to prosecute then we carry on and impound the person's car and they are charged and put before the courts.

"It's anywhere at any time. Just because someone thinks they've gotten away with it, it doesn't mean they have gotten away with it.

"They will soon hear the beeping of a reversing tow truck in their driveway when we catch up to them.

Senior Constable Sarah Thorn, one of the unit bosses, said most of the cars in the impound yard were Nissan Silvias, Cefiros and Skylines. But the odd Subaru and BMW were also collecting dust while the owners were put before the courts.

"We're starting to gather momentum," she said. "They're keeping us busy, to say the least. And the public are just up in arms about it, it's only going to be a matter of time before a child gets taken out."

Mr Fergus said the message was simple - drive properly and keep your car.

"For us, it's about trying to prevent this stuff. Follow the rules, drive sensibly and drive safely - that's all we're after."

Red light

If you see boy-racer activity, call *555 or your local police station. Try to take down the registration number. If the matter is dangerous call 111. If you want to remain anonymous call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

- NZ Herald

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