'Sneaky' new tactic to catch drivers using mobile phones: 'This is shocking'

A frustrated man has clashed with police after he accused an officer of posing as a window washer to catch people using their mobile phones while driving.

The man recorded the confrontation after noticing an undercover cop wearing a hoodie standing near the side of the road while stopped at a traffic light in Manurewa, South Auckland.

"He's the cop who gave me the ticket!" the man can be heard telling a friend sitting in the car with him.

"This is bad, man. He's pretending to be a window washer!"

The man confronting the undercover cop in New Zealand.
The angry man confronted the undercover cop in South Auckland, New Zealand. Source: Today FM

The annoyed passenger then gets out of the car and storms toward the officer to "let the public know" what was going on.

"Alright guys so we've got police here hiding, pretending to be window washers," he says while standing next to the undercover officer, who appears to be trying to distance himself.

"So what they do is they stand here and they dress up in hoodies with a window washer thing and they're looking and trying to get people tickets for fines, maybe phones, seatbelts."

Moments later, several other officers approach the man, with one confirming the 'window washer' was an undercover cop.

The man questioned whether the tactic was actually "saving lives", to which one of the officers responded "yes".

Police tell the man he can film but has to do so from the other side of the road as not to interfere with the undercover operation. The camouflaged officer is then encouraged to return to his post by the side of the road.

Footage of the incident was published by Today FM on Wednesday, with morning talk show host Duncan Garner later chatting to the man's friend, Neil, who was sitting in the car with him at the time.

"I've driven up and down the country all the time and I’ve never seen any sort of act like this anywhere apart from there," Neil said.

"And the fact that he put on clothes to sort of fit into that area is really quite rude."

In a statement from NZ Police, Inspector Tony Wakelin agreed the impersonation was not appropriate and said the operation will now cease, Stuff reports.

Social media responds to 'shocking' footage

The footage has attracted thousands of comments since being posted to TikTok, with many people slamming the police for their "sneaky ways".

"You cannot tell me this isn’t insanely deceptive," one person said.

"This is shocking," another wrote.

"Isn't this entrapment?" a third commented.

However, others argued the officer was simply trying to prevent crime.

"Lord. Get off your phone while you're driving. End of story," one person said.

"No this is good, I have been rear-ended by someone texting and driving," another wrote.

"They are trying to prevent crime and save lives but at the same time they are distracting drivers which can cause accidents," someone else said on Reddit. "So it’s not a good method".

In 2018, Australian police officers were accused of using the same tactic to hand out 38 infringement notices, Stuff reports.

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