Masked and gloved, the crew of police officers operating round-the-clock at checkpoints along the various routes in and out of Kaipara are more used to the Auckland beat than rural roads, raising a question of any potential transmission of the virus at the borders.
However a police spokesperson says police have taken ‘all necessary health precautions’ to ensure officers are safe while on patrol as well as ‘to help prevent any spread in the community of Covid-19’.
“While they are deployed at the checkpoint every officer is required to wear approved PPE gear and change their face mask and gloves in accordance with our PPE guidelines. Our staff are also mindful about physical distancing and any likely contact is minimal.”
There is no legal requirement for police officers working the checkpoints to undergo testing for the disease however, the spokesperson says.
“In general, any staff member who is dealing with a member of the public who exhibits flu-like symptoms is required to wear the appropriate PPE when having any interaction with this person,” the spokesperson says. “If there is any concern that an officer could have been exposed to someone who may potentially have Covid-19, that officer will be asked to undergo testing and is required to self-isolate until the result of the testing is known.”
Officers rostered on either of the early, late or overnight shifts, are regularly rotated to ensure they have meal breaks and opportunities for rest. However police on Ryan Road intersection have also been the recipients of acts of kindness from locals who live along the street, taking time out to bring police generous gifts of home baking, hot drinks and even a BBQ to help them through their day. The kindness and thoughtfulness was greatly appreciated by the officers who recently expressed their gratitude via social media:
“Good Evening Mangawhai! This is Lance Corporal Garmonsway, Constable Jo and the rest of the soldiers on the ground here. We just wanted to take a moment to come into your community group and thank you all for the wonderful food and drinks you’ve brought us today. It can be surprisingly tiresome standing on a road all day/night but your compliance and willingness to cooperate with both army and police has been very appreciated - not to mention the added morale boost all your treats have given us.
We hope that Covid-19 will be over as quick as possible so everyone can get back to their daily routines. Stay safe out there everyone and thank you all once again.”
- REPORTING/JULIA WADE