All hands on deck for police push

SATURATION COVERAGE: Senior Sergeant Jeff Penno runs spot checks on drivers and vehicles in Hamilton East this week.
SATURATION COVERAGE: Senior Sergeant Jeff Penno runs spot checks on drivers and vehicles in Hamilton East this week.

Senior Waikato police left their desks, shook the dust off their beat boots and got back to the coalface in an operation in Hamilton East this week.

Operation Sunlight targeted recidivist dishonesty offenders, compliant vehicles, bail and hotel licensing checks and victims of family violence.

Thirty-two Hamilton police gathered for a briefing in Hamilton Central Police Station on Thursday afternoon.

Senior Sergeant Greg Dunn organised staff into their teams, including Inspectors Leo Tooman and John Kelly, while Waikato Area Commander Win van der Velde and the country's Deputy Commissioner of Police operations, Mike Bush, also got involved.

The Times accompanied the police as they carried out checkpoints on Nottingham Dr – where a number of motorists were stopped, including a 25-year-old woman driving her friends and family.

She was a forbidden driver so the five people in her car had to find another way home after her car was impounded.

Road policing Senior Sergeant Jeff Penno said it was disappointing as the woman's fully licensed mother was a passenger.

The checkpoint was on Wellington St barely five minutes when police caught a man driving at 468mcg. The legal adult limit is 400mcg. A few minutes later a car was stopped with suspected stolen property inside.

Police hit the bars but at 7pm Hood St and Victoria St had mostly diners.

The six-hour operation saw three arrests for people wanted on warrants. As it was a crime prevention operation, Mr Dunn was happy.

Hamilton-born Mr Bush said operations like Sunlight epitomised the prevention-first methodology – saturating police out on the streets, roads, pubs and into victim's homes to try to prevent crime happening in the first place.

"It's doing high visibility policing in areas that are in high demand for police resources ... the community really enjoy seeing police officers out and about and it's returning to some good old-fashioned policing."

It was also about reassuring the public that their police were accessible.

Mr van der Velde said the operation helped target the major drivers of crime in the Waikato – road deaths, alcohol, youth and family violence.

Checkpoints were also set up near homes known to police in an effort to let the occupants know police were not far away and steer away any unwanted visitors.


- 32 staff.

- 3 arrests.

- 1135 compulsory breath tests; 4 over the limit.

- More than 100 tickets.

- More than 25 hotel and off-licence checks.

Waikato Times