Police checkpoints begin around Auckland as city moves to Alert Level 3 - 'Strange times we live in'

Police manning the boundaries of Auckland say they expect New Zealanders to comply with police checkpoints.

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Nine police checkpoints have been established in Auckland for Level 3 lockdown. Source: 1 NEWS

Sgt Andrew Heath of the Counties Manukau road policing team, who are policing the Southern Motorway in South Auckland says he expects most people will play by the rules.

“There’s always a level of frustration around lockdown, it’s a thing that people don’t want to do. But essentially most people are complying.

“We don’t expect much non-compliance.”

He says though police have the power to arrest people breaching the conditions, they will be focusing on educating the public.

He says arrests will be a last resort for police.

“I’ve been in the police for 17 years now and this is quite incredible. Strange times we live in.”

Defence Force could assist at checkpoints

Checkpoints will be similar to ones police set up during Alert Level 3 long weekends earlier this year. Source: 1 NEWS

The Defence Force could assist at the nine police checkpoints that will be set up at Auckland's exit points with the city now in Covid-19 Alert Level 3.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said Defence Force were available to assist police immediately and could be deployed at checkpoints this afternoon.

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Andrew Coster is confident New Zealanders will step up and do the right thing having seen what has happened with second waves overseas. Source: 1 NEWS

“From midday, police will also be operating nine checkpoints at exit points just inside the regional boundaries, largely based on the Auckland Super City boundaries,” he said.

“We will be stopping vehicles and questioning drivers, but as has been our approach through the Covid-19 response, our first focus will be on educating people and ensuring they are aware of the new restrictions.”

Auckland checkpoints. Source: 1 NEWS

Checkpoints will be set at these sites. Source: Supplied

Auckland checkpoints. Source: 1 NEWS

“The checkpoints will be similar to the operations conducted ahead of the long weekends during the national Alert Level 3. 

“Once again, we are urging people to play their part, and we are relying on people to heed the message to go home and stay home."

Commissioner Coster said police were once again calling on New Zealanders to abide by the alert level restrictions.

“I believe New Zealanders have a choice, we’ve seen what it looks like overseas when you don’t get this right,” he said.

“I think we know what we need to do and I’m really confident New Zealanders will step up to do that.”

Freight would be able to get into Auckland, Commissioner Coster said.

Level 3 boundaries around Auckland. Source: 1 NEWS

“It [the regional lockdown] has some complexity primarily around controlling the traffic in and out, clearly freight and other services will be able to move,” he said.

Police checkpoints would be restricted to Auckland while the rest of the country moves to Alert Level 2.

“There is no legal basis for checkpoints during Level 2 by either police or by anybody else.”

Police officers will be wearing masks and full PPE in cases where there is higher risk around someone who is symptomatic, Commissioner Coster said.