A West Auckland family have been left flummoxed after police told them they can't do anything about a neighbour who has been threatening their lives.

The man, who the Herald will call 'John', says they're not sure what else they can do, as police have told him their hands are tied due to the Covid-19 epidemic, that the neighbour's behaviour isn't yet serious enough, and if it was, they couldn't bail him to another address because it would break the nationwide lockdown.

But police say no one should feel unsafe in their own home, they can still arrest people and would continue to carry out inquiries into the matter.

After the Herald contacted police today, John said they had visited the home he shares with his wife, their 3-month-old baby and his mother-in-law.

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John said police reiterated they couldn't arrest his neighbour, as he would be bailed back to the same house, but had warned him about his behaviour.

Their small homes adjoin and share a driveway.

The man next door, 'Tom', is believed to be aged about 40, lives with his mother and has shared custody of his two young sons.

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John's family have been there four years, and their neighbour about three. Tensions have steadily increased during that time.

However, they peaked on Monday afternoon when they had trouble getting their baby to sleep after he'd had his three-monthly injections.

When they finally did, Tom and his two young children returned home on their BMX bikes and began swearing and playing loud rap music.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

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His mother-in-law opened the door and told one of the children, "baby, sleep".

One of the man's son apologised and turned off the music. But then Tom "absolutely lost it".

"'What the f***, you f****** bitch' ... he threatened to run her over with his truck," John claimed. "He keeps calling me a f****** faggot, to come outside. Then he threatened to run me over with his truck. It just went on for an hour, an hour-and-a-half."

He called police about 6.10pm but no one turned up so he called again 40 minutes later.

Tom claimed to be associated with the Head Hunters gang but John wasn't sure.

At 9.30pm, John got a call from police saying they were on their way, but they still hadn't arrived by 11.30pm.

Some time later, he got a call from an officer explaining that "on a normal day", they would arrest Tom and bail him to another address, but because of lockdown restrictions, his behaviour wasn't serious enough to justify the process.

"I'm not blaming police because their hands are tied but when I'm basically being told by the police that there's nothing they can do, they're not going to arrest him because they can't take him back to the cells, if it was a normal, they could ... so I just have to put up with it for however long and we basically live door to door.

"They have no powers to stop him from contacting me, they have no powers to stop him from coming near me, they have no powers to keep him out of the house.

"I can't go to my garage, I can't go get my rubbish bin, I can't go to my letterbox without him being there."

The officer suggested they apply for emergency housing but there were four of them, plus two cats, and he didn't think it was fair.

"Why do I have to leave my house? I would just feel like I'm being victimised twice because now you're telling me that he can do whatever he likes during the lockdown and you're not going to do anything.

"Everywhere we turn, we've got the police can't help us, the landlord can't do anything, the MSD is paying for them to be there. So I work my arse off to pay taxes for this guy, who isn't working and sits at home and threatens my family, and there's nothing I can do.

"I don't know what to do. I can't go anywhere. I just feel like because of this lockdown, you can go and commit any non-violent crime and nothing is going to happen."

Inspector Stefan Sagar, area commander for Waitemata West, said police still could and would arrest people if deemed necessary.

"It is not acceptable for any person to feel unsafe in their home.

"Police absolutely still can and will be arresting people if necessary, and if there is an offence identified and sufficient evidence, then they will also be charged."

Sagar said police were still investigating the incident and he couldn't go into further detail but wanted to "assure our community that we take these types of matters seriously".

"We would also acknowledge that with the alert level 4 restrictions meaning the majority of people are at home, that we just need people to be kind and considerate to one another."