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Thames Police Senior Constable Gareth Carter. Photo: KELLEY TANTAU

Cops crack down on bad driving behaviours

Thames Police is driving home the message that it isn’t okay to drive unlicensed, unsafely, and inappropriately.
They are cracking down on people doing just that by impounding vehicles, applying for warrants through the courts, and issuing infringements for aiding and abetting.
Senior Constable Gareth Carter, Senior Constable Brian Connors, and Sergeant Rachel Holmes are often quizzed about what Police is doing about the poor driving behaviours on display around the urban areas within Thames.
With the Police’s current pursuit policy meaning there has to be “immediate and serious concerns for life” for officers to give chase, there is sometimes the perception that cops turn a blind eye to offending.
Instead, they use a change of tack.

“It’s human nature that when you see someone doing something wrong, you want to stop it,” Gareth said, “but we need to justify whether it’s appropriate to even attempt [a pursuit] in the first instance.”
By obtaining evidence, reviewing nearby CCTV cameras, talking to witnesses and receiving snapshots provided by the public, Thames Police have had great success in identifying the drivers of cars or the riders of motorbikes who have broken the law.
Just one hour after speaking to The Profile, the officers caught up with a person riding a dirt bike along Thames’ main streets, wearing no helmet, and driving without a licence, registration or Warrant of Fitness. The bike was impounded.
They also recently impounded a vehicle that had been responsible for burnouts around town.
“So, things may not be dealt with immediately at the time, but over the coming days, action does get taken,” Gareth said.
The offenders are mostly young men seeking adrenaline, and Gareth said that while there had always been people who displayed anti-authority behaviour, they were perhaps getting “more courageous” – such as riding their unregistered motorbikes and dirt bikes through Pollen St.
But it was up to the community to hold them responsible as well, he said.
“There are parents out there who know that this behaviour is happening, sometimes employers, and the behaviour that you let them get away with is the behaviour you accept.”
“It only takes one split second of a mistake for something to go wrong,” Rachel added, “and then there’s a major injury that not only puts them out of action but also their family has to cope with it as well.”
Senior Constable Brian Connors is the school community officer in Thames, and he is letting secondary schools know Police are “watching and doing something about” the poor driving behaviours showcased by some students.
“Traditionally, every two or three years, we will go to a serious or fatal crash involving more than one child in a car, and generally it’s licence breaches, guys showing off to females, alcohol, all that stuff.
“Warnings aren’t working with regard to extra passengers in the car,” he said, “so infringements will be issued for aiding and abetting, and that might go back through to the parents.”
Rules need to be stuck to, the officers said, not only for members of the public, but for the drivers themselves.
“The reason why we go a step further now and help people become better drivers is because, unfortunately, in the past couple of years, two people we have assisted in getting their licence have passed away from accidents,” Gareth said.
“Out of the several hundreds we have helped, two died as a result of a motor vehicle crash, so there is definitely a need to encourage safer driving behaviours.”
DETAILS: To report bad driving behaviours, use the NZ Police online report to make a non-emergency report, or call 105. If you are observing the driving and feel it requires police attendance please call 111.