On the beat: call us first

On the Beat with Constable Ryan Fleming

It’s been a few tumultuous weeks on the policing front for me and I know I have been somewhat absent from writing my column. I must thank Deb Thurgood for filling in me.

Illegal street racing activity (boyracers) is becoming a hot topic of conversation around the place at the moment. As I write this one of my colleagues is waiting a tow truck for a car he has just impounded at one of our hotspots.

Illegal street racing causes significant anxiety and on some of the local Facebook pages there is a lot of commentary. Again, I urge people to call Police. The other night I was working and spent most of my night looking out for trouble. The following morning, I saw on a Facebook group a question asking who heard people doing skids. Had 111 been called myself and my colleague could have attended. Yes, we do have to prioritise calls but sometimes, we are in a position to attend and it’s disheartening to hear long after the fact.

We also have the ability to investigate and follow up with registered owners (and often parents). My colleagues have the authority to obtain footage and statements from witnesses, impound cars and put drivers thought the courts. We can’t do it without the community standing up and saying no to this behaviour. We are wholly reliant on informants providing good quality statements about vehicle descriptions, registration plate numbers and what the vehicle was doing.

I have spent considerable time with residents in Arapuni to form an action plan around this activity. As a result of these discussions with the community and with community board members, Waipā District Council is pushing a bylaw to help give us teeth in cracking down on the anti-social behaviour.

Once the spectre of Omicron has subsided I am interested in expanding this to other communities.

In the meantime, the take away I want people to have is to call us, record what you saw and if possible and safe to do so, obtain footage.

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