A wanted man was arrested in Kaitaia on Monday night, not without some drama, but police were left deeply unimpressed by the Kaitaia Crimewatch Facebook page's involvement.
Almost 300 responses were posted to 'news' that a police officer had been shot, followed by the shooting and/or stabbing of three officers outside Kaitaia Intermediate School.
The officer in charge of police in Te Hiku, Senior Sergeant Russell Richards, said neither of those claims were remotely true. The only casualty had been an officer who suffered a very small cut under his left eye when someone threw an unknown projectile through a window at the Matthews' Ave house where the man was arrested.
His eyes were washed to remove glass, but he did not require further treatment.
By early Tuesday morning the Facebook posts, and responses, had been deleted.
Senior Sergeant Richards said police had received information from the local drug fraternity, and the wider community, regarding the whereabouts of the wanted man, who had failed to appear in court for sentence on convictions of unlawful possession of a firearm, rioting, using a firearm against a law enforcement officer, committing a dangerous act with intent to use a firearm and participating in an organised criminal group, all arising from offences in the Bay of Plenty.
The Armed Offenders' squad was called from Whangārei to assist in making the arrest, as a precaution, and the police Eagle helicopter flew from Auckland to keep watch over the address.
"The helicopter (which circled over Kaitaia for 30 minutes or more) was there in case he left the address and had to be found," he said.
"It was also used to make a voice appeal, calling down to the man to give himself up."
The man complied and was arrested without incident, although others at the address barricaded themselves inside the house. It was during that standoff that something was thrown through a window. A 42-year-old man was later charged with assaulting police.
Senior Sergeant Richards said it was disappointing that people in the community continued to harbour those of the arrested man's ilk, while the contribution made by Kaitaia Crimewatch had caused a good deal of totally unnecessary stress and anxiety for a lot of people.
Rumours that police had shot a dog multiple times were also totally unfounded, he added.