19 Jul 2012

Police praise solo woman officer who cuffed drunk gang member

3:35 pm on 19 July 2012

Kaitaia's police chief is praising the work of a lone woman constable, who managed to fend off a large drunk gang member and handcuff him without help.

The District Court has heard the constable was driving the man to the police station to charge him, after he crashed a car near Kaitaia last month.

He allegedly began stroking the officer's arm and leg and inviting her to make a detour, saying he'd just come out of prison and needed affection.

Senior Sergeant Geoff Ryan says the story might sound funny on the face of it but the man has a history of violence towards the police, and the officer had good reason to feel threatened.

He says she called for back up, but by the time it arrived, she'd done a great job of talking the man into being handcuffed, and avoiding the need to apply force.

Former Whangarei police commander Paul Dimery resigned abruptly last week, saying budget cuts are increasing the risks to front-line police officers, especially those sent out alone in rural areas.

Mr Ryan says sending officers out on patrol alone is part of the job and although police work is inherently dangerous, officers are trained to deal with the dangers.

The 21-year-old Kaitaia man admitted to dangerous driving, refusing to give a blood sample, and obstructing police but pleaded not guilty to indecently assaulting the officer.