Police are urging a Hamilton man to hand himself in after he escaped a checkpoint by diving into the Waikato River.

Senior Sergeant Simon Cherry said they know who the 31-year-old man is and would rather he gave himself up after his efforts launched an extensive search of the river to try and find him.

Cherry said the man was being arrested for reckless driving at the checkpoint on Cobham Dr about 12.30am today when he fled on foot into the river.

He exited the river at Hammond St, near the Waikato Rowing Club, before running off.

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"After an extensive search with [police dog] he was not located ... but we've got his car and we know who he is.

"We would suggest that the gentleman hand himself in and deal with the issues that he has caused, and urge him to do that the earliest opportunity."