Nikki Preston is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Praise for cop who helped new parents

The Waikato policeman initially pulled the couple's car over for speeding. Photo / File
The Waikato policeman initially pulled the couple's car over for speeding. Photo / File

The Waikato road cop who escorted a heavily pregnant woman and her husband on a 45 minute journey from the outskirts of Otorohanga to Hamilton has been congratulated by his boss for doing the right thing and using his discretion, including not giving the new dad a speeding ticket.

The highway police officer was patrolling State Highway 3 south of Te Awamutu when he pulled over the driver of a car for "modestly exceeding the speed limit".

But when the constable went to talk to the driver, he discovered his heavily pregnant wife was in the passenger seat. The couple were heading to Waikato Hospital due to the baby coming earlier than planned.

The labouring woman was unable to be moved into the police car to get a faster ride, so the quick thinking officer instead put on his lights and told the couple who were new to the area to stay close and follow him.

Waikato District road policing manager Freda Grace praised the officer's actions.

"Being faced with a baby being born in a vehicle vs potentially in a hospital where the survival rate is so much better then he took the right course of action. He did the right thing for the community and the right thing for that family.

"We don't ever condone speeding. And that was his purpose of stopping that vehicle. It doesn't really matter whatever the speed was, we don't condone that."

She said police officers had to use their discretion and make decisions around speeding infringements and their circumstances everyday and this was no different.

"It's not always that you wouldn't give an infringement, but it's not always that you would give an infringement as well."

This was not the first time a police officer had played a role in making sure a baby was delivered safely, but Ms Grace said the situations were infrequent.

Last July a Waitemata constable Errol Diprose delivered a baby on Auckland's Southern Motorway.

The police officer posted his experience on the Waikato Road Policing Team's Facebook page last night with the hashtag #betterworkstories and within 24 hours it had been liked by 3,500 people.

- NZ Herald

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