Matthew Theunissen

Matthew Theunissen is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Checkpoint alert page under fire

The Checkpoint Watch Facebook page has proved popular with drivers.
The Checkpoint Watch Facebook page has proved popular with drivers.

A Facebook page which alerts members to police checkpoints is encouraging drunk drivers to take their chances with all of our lives, police say.

The page, Checkpoint Watch NZ, is "liked" by more than 61,000 people - 40,000 more than in July this year.

It regularly updates with the location of police checkpoints, speed cameras and other roading information from around the country.

Today (Monday), posts included information about a checkpoint at Half Moon Bay in Auckland, an unmarked police car in Pakuranga, a speed camera in Meremere and a "speed trap" in Thames.

The page declares "if you drink and drive you are a bloody idiot", but national road policing manager Superintendent Carey Griffiths said it encouraged people to do just that.

"People who condone these sites, I would ask them how on earth would they feel if someone avoided a checkpoint because of this Facebook page and then went on to kill their husband, wife, child, brother, sister or best mate.

It's just not acceptable."

While it was not illegal, the page was "socially irresponsible", he said.

"Road safety's not a game. It's not about beating the cops, it's actually about looking after each other as a society. Everybody's got a role to play in that. Stuff like this treats it like it's a game. Everyone who's lost a loved one in a road traffic crash or who's been badly injured sure as anything doesn't see it that way."

The page's administrators declined to comment.

In the description of the page, police checkpoints are described as "a revenue gathering inconvenience".

"We hope that you use the information we provide to make wise decisions before driving," it says.

"This 'page' does not condone or promote the following; Driving under the influence of alcohol or drug's, Dangerous or reckless driving. Hit and Run's, Violence, Road Rage or any other illegal activities."

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RECENT POSTS FROM AUCKLAND

- "EYC570 blue undercover wagon driving up and down glenmore road Pakuranga pulling people over. Literally got two people outside my house in the last 5 minutes. Assuming for speeding. Stick to the limit."

- "Huge checkpoint at half moon bay marina."

- "Akl. Speed camera van hiding in the bushes just after East Tamaki Rd southbound."

- "Cops and speed cameras in force between Auckland and Wellsford."

- "Getting multiple reports of a checkpoint By the Kumeu town entrance, bridge before the Z service station."

- "Checkpoint kaka st otahuhu both ways just ova the bridge."

- NZ Herald

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