Covid cop's arm caught in car as driver takes off

A policeman has been left shaken after a driver with a disqualified licence sped away from a Covid-19 checkpoint when the officer reached in to take his car keys from the ignition.

Waitematā District Commander Superintendent Naila Hassan said the incident took place at Auckland's northern checkpoint at the intersection of Coal Hill Rd and Mangawhai Rd around 7.15am yesterday.

"A vehicle has pulled up to a checkpoint and the officer has identified the man was a disqualified driver," Hassan said.

"The officer has noticed that the driver was about to flee so attempted to grab his car keys.

"The male has driven off with the officer's arm still in the vehicle.

"Fortunately the officer freed himself and avoided serious injury. He is understandably shaken and is being provided with support."

Police knew the man from past incidents and were now on the hunt for him.

Hassan reminded Aucklanders of the need to comply with alert level 3 restrictions, saying the driver's behaviour was among a number of incidents in Tāmaki Makaurau over the past few days.

"Since 6am on Sunday until 6pm yesterday evening, police has processed 83,703 vehicles through the 10 checkpoints spread across North and South Auckland," she said.

Of those, 358 vehicles had been turned away at the northern checkpoints and 899 at the southern checkpoints.

Other incidents included a vegetable stand on Sandringham Rd in the Wesley area on Wednesday.

"This market place was not displaying a QR code, the stall operators were not wearing PPE and were not equipped to provide contactless service to customers," Hassan said.

"Our police staff engaged with the two men present to remind them of the current alert level 3 restrictions and have issued them with a warning."

Police were also aware of a video circulating online showing an interaction between two officers and a woman in Browns Bay who is reported to have cut tape off a playground to allow her children to play on it yesterday afternoon.

"Police will be following up with the woman and further action cannot be ruled out in relation to this incident," Hassan said.

She said that between 6am Sunday, February 28 and 6pm Wednesday, March 3, police received 917 notifications to 105 possible breaches of Covid-19 alert level 3 restrictions in Auckland.

"As part of our graduated response we are focusing on education and are reminding members of the public of the current restrictions in place.

"While we are focusing on reminding the public of expectations, there is an option for police to take enforcement action, particularly in instances where there is deliberate and/or repeated breaches by individuals of these restrictions."

The rest of the country remains at Alert Level 2 and no issues have been reported.

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