Road unit cracks down on hoons

Last updated 05:00 16/11/2012

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Risky drivers and street racers are being watched closely as police call on fellow road users to help gather intelligence.

Operation Reclaim has been started by the Waitemata police district road crime unit to curb dangerous driving behaviour and reduce road trauma in the area.

Just one offence with supporting evidence is enough for police to seize a car and order the driver to pay hundreds of dollars in fines.

Waitemata district road policing manager Mark Fergus says the target offenders are those who end up killing people on our roads.

The operation has been running for just over a month, led by a special police team based at North Shore policing station.

Senior Constable Sarah Thorn says the most prolific offenders tend to be 17 to 25-year-old males driving Nissan Skylines or similar modified vehicles. Street racing, erratic driving and deliberate car stunts are some of the typical behaviours they are hoping to prevent.

"We can impound cars anywhere and at anytime," Mr Fergus says.

"Because we can't be everywhere at once, we are asking the community to help us."

Public reports will be logged and if possible an officer will be dispatched to record evidence, such as skid marks, at the scene.

Reports up to six months old qualify for police action.

"We use our investigative tools to track them down and seize their car. Often the first they'll hear about it is when we knock on the door and they see a tow truck parked in their driveway."

Appeals against police impounding a vehicle can be made to the police commissioner but are mostly unsuccessful, Mr Fergus says.

The process takes about a week and, if rejected, the offender is still be required to pay towing and storage fees.

Parents are also being warned by police to ensure their children do not drive their cars.

Not owning the car is not an excuse, he says.

People are asked to call *555 with a description of the behaviour witnessed, the car registration number and the time of day.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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