31 Mar 2024

Gisborne police declare war on 'anti-social' drivers

2:17 pm on 31 March 2024

(File photo) Photo:

Gisborne police have launched a crack down on 'anti-social' drivers, who they say have damaged roads and made crank 111 calls to divert police.

Ten vehicles were impounded in Gisborne between Easter Friday and Saturday, more than 50 infringements were issued, and officers caught three people drunk driving and three driving while suspended.

Drivers had also caused damage to roads, and in some cases police believe fake calls were made to try to tie up police to slow their response.

"We will also be investigating a number of 111 calls that were made on Saturday night, which we've since confirmed were hoax calls made by these anti-social road users in an attempt to divert police attention from their illegal activities on our roads," Tairāwhiti police area commander Danny Kirk said.

"Damage to local roads from illegal activity over the weekend is still being assessed, to ensure any risks posed by debris left behind (eg blown tyres) and obscured road markings are addressed."

Reports from the public as the crimes were underway had been helpful, Kirk said.

"Information provided by members of our community is invaluable not only in holding those responsible to account, but also in ensuring we are able to pass information regarding damaged roads on to our partner agencies," Kirk said.

"Police's work to disrupt this behaviour and hold those involved to account is not over, and we will be reviewing footage and further information received by the public, to further identify vehicles and people involved."

On Saturday, Gisborne police said a car had been impounded for doing skids on the city's rainbow crossing in the main road. And three people were charged earlier this week after the crossing was vandalised by being painted over in what police are pursuing as a possible hate crime. Police were also seeking one other person in connection to the crossing painting.

"We are incredibly disappointed with the behaviour that these people continue to display on our roads," Kirk said. "It has been an incredibly unsettling week for residents of Gisborne, and we have had an increased presence in the region throughout the week to reassure locals.

"This not only causes risk to people, but also damage to the roads, and it is very disrespectful - particularly given the tragic events of last weekend, and the ongoing recovery of our community following Cyclone Gabrielle and other weather-related events."

Specialist staff had been brought in from Hawke's Bay and elsewhere to help with the crack-down this weekend, and support was being given by roading contractors, Fire and Emergency New Zealand, Hato Hone St John, Waka Kotahi, Gisborne District Council, and bailiffs from the Ministry of Justice.

The operation would continue through the weekend, Kirk said.

He encouraged anyone who say anyone doing anything illegal on the roads to stay safe and gather as much information as they could about what was happening, including number plates and video footage. Then to call 111 if it was still taking place, or 105 if they were calling afterwards, or to report anonymously through Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.

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