Video of Napier police officer using phone while driving sparks debate

A video of a man confronting a police officer he saw using his cellphone while driving has sparked debate about whether police should be exempt from the law.

In the heated confrontation, the Napier man approaches the cop and questions whether he broke the law.

The policeman repeatedly says he's allowed to use his cellphone, as the filmer's temper rises.

Using a mobile phone while driving is illegal, but police officers are permitted to use a phone for work duties.

The original post has since been removed, but it's put the topic back into the spotlight online.

While some thought police shouldn't be allowed to use their phones, others came to the officer's defence.

"Police undertake special driving courses as part of being a police," one commenter says.

"They are trained to drive under pressure and distracted. We are already low on police. Let's not lose another one."

Another said the man should "move on".

"Police have an exemption … The guy just wasted police time."

"Why aren't the police using hands-free?" the man involved, who did not wish to be named, asked Newshub.

"It's setting a bad example for 16, 17-year-old kids who drive past and see them on their phones and think it's okay.

"They're meant to be role models.

"They use the argument that police are trained… what kind of training can prepare you for an accident?"

But another thought police should be "leading by example".

"If we see them acting recklessly, then it indirectly gives us permission to do the same."

One questioned why police aren't supplied with hands free devices in their vehicles, if they're allowed on their phones.

"It's a safety issue and regardless who they are talking to I don't think it should matter as even if they are talking police matters it does not prevent them from being distracted."

Hawke's Bay area commander Inspector Dave Greig told NZME employees who breach land transport legislation "are treated no differently to members of the public".

"The use of police mobility devices and other communication is decided on a case-by-case basis.

"As this particular footage has only just come to light, it will take some time to establish the precise circumstances."

Newshub.