West Coast cop caught hunting during lockdown

An off-duty West Coast policeman seen out hunting last weekend — days after the country moved into the Covid-19 level 4 lockdown and a national warning for hunters to stay home — has been given a ticking off by his boss.

The officer, who is not on active duty due to an injury, was photographed loading a deer into his vehicle.

"He must have missed the memo about no hunting," one person commented on social media. Comments such as "one rule for them" and "we would get done for it" peppered the conversation.

In a brief reply to the Greymouth Star last week, the West Coast police area commander Inspector Jacqui Corner said she was aware of the allegations and the social media comments.

"The alert level 4 restrictions apply to all New Zealanders," Ms Corner noted.

"The staff member in question has been spoken to and reminded of our expectations in regards to adhering to those restrictions."

On the same day, the West Coast police asked media to highlight the 'no hunting' rule, saying they were getting reports of West Coasters "still actively going hunting".

"Police wish to remind those people that may be contemplating going out hunting that it is a breach of the level 4 lockdown," senior sergeant Mark Rowbottom said.

"Those hunters who are caught, within the level 4 lockdown period, will be educated around what the current lockdown criteria is and encouraged to refrain from hunting until the lockdown level has changed."

Mr Rowbottom said the lockdown was the main reason for no hunting at the moment, but also if anyone did venture into the bush and was hurt or lost, it would take search and rescue resources away from where they were critically needed and also put rescuers at risk.

Information about lockdown breaches, including hunting, can be passed on anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or by phoning 105 or on-line at 105.police.govt.nz

- Brendon McMahon

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