Nicholas Jones

Nicholas Jones is the New Zealand Herald’s education reporter.

Auckland cop behind pole 'just doing job'

Police say the pole was too small to hide the officer and his car was likely at the ready to pursue offenders.
Police say the pole was too small to hide the officer and his car was likely at the ready to pursue offenders.

A police officer has been accused of hiding behind a pole and parking illegally to catch drivers who travelled just over the speed limit in a suburban street over Labour Weekend.

But police say the officer was simply doing his job and speeding drivers can kill no matter the time or location.

Craig Burrows said he was driving on Sunday morning when he saw the officer tracking the speed of cars on Maioro St, Mt Roskill.

He said the officer was positioning himself behind a pole on a street corner in order to catch motorists, and had parked his patrol car facing the wrong way on a nearby side street.

Mr Burrows drove back to photograph the officer and said in that time two cars were pulled over, both of whom looked to be elderly drivers.

Police say the pole was too small to hide the officer and his car was likely at the ready to pursue offenders.
Police say the pole was too small to hide the officer and his car was likely at the ready to pursue offenders.

"I don't have a problem with getting a ticket for doing something wrong, but not exploiting the 4km [reduced speed tolerance] with some old duck who was just trotting along.

"Him parking illegally and hiding behind a pole with a radar gun - come on. If he wants to save lives stick his car out on the main road, and people will see it and they'll all slow down."

Auckland city police spokeswoman Noreen Hegarty said there was no evidence of any officer hiding behind a pole in a high visibility vest - which would be difficult given the size of the pole in question.

Police made no apologies for trying to keep city streets safe for all motorists to use.

"It may be that the officer was using a radar device to detect motorists exceeding the speed limit or driving inappropriately in the area at the time and was steadying himself against the pole so as to get accurate readings.

"As for the way in which the patrol car was parked, I suspect that it was positioned in such a way so that the officer could exit the street quickly if necessary to follow an offending driver or to respond to a call for assistance from colleagues."

National road policing manager, Superintendent Carey Griffiths, said without having details on the incident it was difficult to comment.

However, members of the public often did not realise why a particular stretch of road was policed. The officer could be there because of complaints about driver behaviour.

"Normally we do our work overtly. But from time to time we need to use a range of tactics to apprehend people and stop them posing a risk to others."

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- NZ Herald

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