A major Auckland police custody unit has been forced shut after a woman who spent time there last week tested positive for Covid-19.
As a result, at the moment all people arrested in the Waitematā District - which covers Waitākere and the North Shore - are being transported to Auckland City for processing.
And a number of police staff are isolating until they can be cleared of the highly infections Delta variant while others have been reprimanded for not wearing the right protective gear.
Several sources have confirmed the woman was arrested on Thursday and, after spending time at the North Shore Policing Centre in Mairangi Bay, was driven to the custody unit at Henderson in West Auckland.
Waitematā District Operations Manager Inspector Jason Edwards confirmed the district custody unit is temporarily closed after a person who was processed through the cells on the 23rd September subsequently tested positive for COVID19.
"Police were notified by Corrections of this positive case yesterday afternoon," he said.
"When the officers arrested the woman for a breach of bail and burglary related offences she was asymptomatic and went through a health screening test before she was brought into the custody unit.
"We are now working closely with Ministry of Health and our partners on this matter and have reviewed CCTV footage to check who has had contact with the woman.
"Due to this we now have 10 authorised offciers (sworn police staff) who have been stood down to be tested and self-isolate for 14 days.":
The room where the woman was held for a brief period at the North Shore Policing Centre in Mairangi Bay - which is closed to the public currently due to the Level 3 restrictions - was deep cleaned.
"The three officers who dealt with the initial arrest of the woman and brought her into the custody unit are also being tested and are self-isolating," said Edwards.
"A number of results have already been returned, all of which are negative."
He said the custody unit at Henderson was being deep cleaned today.
And he confirmed some staff failed to use the right protective equipment on the night in question.
"Not all of the staff involved in the arrest and management in the District Custody Unit had full PPE on and we will be addressing this with them," Edwards said.
"We expect the custody unit will reopen later today and in the meantime all arrests that require a person to be detained are being taken to the Auckland City District Custody Unit based at Mt Eden.
One source said the situation was putting pressure on an already stretched police force who are dealing with enforcing level 3 restrictions and the Auckland boundaries on top of their usual daily tasks.
Auckland is split into three policing areas - Waitematā, City and Counties Manukau.
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