A recently retired policeman says his fellow officers set a failed trap to catch him drink driving on the way home from a sports club.

Former Senior Constable Gavin Benney said he was tipped off that his colleagues were waiting to catch him at a breathtesting checkpoint after an evening hockey game and a meal in Whangarei.

He said that although he had not been drinking, he and another police officer took a back road instead and listened to the police radio.

"We heard them say; 'We've missed him, he's gone.' Then I could hear them looking for me."


Mr Benney, who quit the force in November 2013, tells the story in a book about his work experiences Country Cop 24/7: The life and times of a rural cop, which goes on sale tomorrow.

In the book he describes the incident as "petty but potentially damaging behaviour" by a group who either wanted his job or thought he was given too much leeway in his policing style.

Mr Benney told the Weekend Herald that there seemed to be a perception among some police officers that he was regularly drink-driving in his police car after the social hockey games.

Asked if he had been drink-driving, he replied; "No, not at all. Did I years and years ago? Yes. But I haven't for years and won't - and didn't. Because I knew the rules."

The 52-year-old said he was thinking of leaving the police anyway but the incident probably made him decide to go sooner.

Another factor was the drink-driving conviction that year of his 19-year-old son Kurt, a promising rugby player who had also wanted to join the police force.

Mr Benney, who spent 24 years as a rural policeman in the Hikurangi district north of Whangarei, is now a part-owner of a Whangarei pub with former All Black and Northland first five-eighth Ian Dunn, and Ross Kneebone, a former recruitment officer who was convicted of drink driving in 2010.

He said he expected police had targeted him and other officers because of their long association with Mr Kneebone.


"To be honest I don't really understand it but I know that's the new way of policing. That's how they deal with things now."

Police declined to comment.

* Read more about Gavin Benney's life as a country cop in the Weekend Herald this Saturday.

Mr Benney took part in the massive 2006 police manhunt for Nathan Fenton, who murdered his teenage girlfriend Mairina Dunn and went on the run for 10 days.

He describes in the book how he had already tracked Fenton down and arrested him two weeks earlier for a violent attack on Ms Dunn, after he got a tip that Fenton was lying low in the DoC campground at Otamure Bay near Whananaki.

Dressed in his trademark shorts, T-shirt and jandals, he waited for Fenton to come back from fishing on the rocks and greeted him with the words; "Are we going to have a fight or what?"

Fenton said he wanted a smoke on the way back and promised not to try anything on if Mr Benney didn't put him in handcuffs, to which he agreed.

Mr Benney said he was amazed to see Fenton running along a city street later that day, after being bailed by the court.

"I couldn't believe it and he couldn't either... Within two weeks he had killed his partner."