Boy racers targeted
Risky drivers and street racers are being watched closely as police call upon fellow road users to help gather intelligence.
"Operation Reclaim" has just been initiated by the Waitemata police district road crime unit to curb dangerous driving and reduce road trauma.
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 that end up killing people on our roads.
"They're causing a disproportionate amount of road trauma. The message is getting out there to most people, but these are the hard core and they need this approach."
The operation has been running for just over a month and is being led by a special team based at North Shore Policing Station who are experienced in bringing down driving offenders.
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, Mr Fergus says.
"We can impound cars anywhere and at anytime."
Data on dangerous driving behaviour is being logged by "business as usual" police staff and the Operation Reclaim team, but Mr Fergus says they need help from the public.
"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.
"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 required to pay towing and storage fees.
Parents are also being warned by police to ensure their children do not drive their cars.
"We have had many cases of kids taking mum and dad's shopping cart out for a spin and it getting impounded," Mr Fergus says.
If the offender does not own the car it is not an excuse, he says.
It is up to the owner of the vehicle to recover the impoundment costs from the driver.
The Operation Reclaim team will be hitting boy racer hot spots such as Albany Mall, late night service stations and takeaway outlets in the coming months, Mr Fergus says.
People are asked to call *555 or the North Shore Policing Station on 477 5000 with a description of the behaviour witnessed, the car registration number and the time.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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