by Selwyn Manning
Police are cracking down on Auckland’s homeless, street-kids, and sex workers in the run up to the APEC leader’s summit meetings next month.
A Scoop police contact has revealed street sex workers around Karangahape Road and the side roads to upper Queen Street are being given the message to be scarce during APEC.
The officer says “round ups” of transsexual sex workers began last month. Police were using a tatty early 1980s Japanese model car with an officer posing as a “John” to lure the prostitutes into soliciting.
The officer would drive slowly along K-Road and down the side-streets. When approached by a transsexual sex worker the officer would discuss sex details and cost. He would then drive away with the transsexual in the car. At that point a pair of police officers would pull over the undercover officer for a trumped up reason like not wearing a seatbelt or for having a broken tail light.
A “hello hello hello, what have we here then?” situation would develop. The transsexual sex worker would be taken to the police station for questioning. The undercover officer would then go on to “collect” another sex worker.
The Scoop contact says street-kids have also come under pressure from city police. Constables have been told by their superiors to “harass” street-kids so they know police are getting tough.
The officer says in one example officers followed street-kids into a retail store and began to “push them around”, searching their bags and when finding no reason for a charge telling the kids to be aware the police will tolerate no loitering.
The pressure has also reportedly been noticed by lawyers who claim a host of petty arrests at the weekend are part of a police crackdown. The duty solicitor supervisor, Johnnie Kovacevich, says homeless people are being arrested and denied bail.
Scoop understands the message on the streets is; leave the city central district before APEC meetings begin and stay away.
The APEC police chief, detective superintendent Peter Marshall, said in this morning’s New Zealand Herald that the claims were nonsense. He said the lawyers were trying to get sympathy from the courts.