A growing number of wanted persons are ramming police officers and their patrol cars with their vehicles, the New Zealand Police Association says.
Source: 1 NEWS
The latest incident occurred in Taupo on Wednesday night after a police car was rammed by a fleeing driver in an SUV, injuring two police officers.
When the officers attempted to restart their severely damaged car, the pair were then followed by the offender, Association Vice-president Craig Tickelpenny says in a statement.
The offender was later arrested at a Taupo motel.
"These incidents seriously endanger the lives of the police officers, put at risk innocent members of the public and the offending drivers themselves, and they can cause thousands of dollars of damage to the patrol cars," Mr Tickelpenny said.
"Ramming police offenders and/or their vehicles is only going to increase the severity of the charges against the offending driver when he or she is caught and as we saw in New Plymouth earlier this month, it is a practice that can quickly turn deadly."
It follows an incident last Thursday where a Hamilton motorist, who was driving erratically in a stolen 4WD ute with a horse float and two horses inside, rammed a police car after an officer tried to stop him.
The driver has since pleaded guilty to 12 charges.
And on May 5 in Morrinsville, a stolen truck rammed into the front doors of the Morrinsville Police Station then drove towards officers twice before the truck's front tyre was shot by police.
"There were also incidents in Mangere in March, Henderson in February and Northland and Tauranga in January in which officers were injured and vehicles severely damaged," he said.
"The Association is very concerned at this type of behaviour which shows reckless disregard for the lives of our members and anyone else who may be in the path of the offender. Police are under extreme pressure on the frontlines every day. They can do without adding ramming injuries and written-off patrol cars to their list of concerns on the job."