Coronavirus: New online form for public to report lockdown breaches to police

A new online form has been released for the public to report incidents of people breaching the COVID-19 alert level four restrictions. 

The form can be found at from Sunday.

As of 11:59pm on Wednesday, New Zealand has been placed under lockdown in response to the escalating COVID-19 outbreak. All schools and non-essential businesses have been closed and New Zealanders are expected to remain in their homes. People should only be leaving their place of residence if they are part of the essential workforce, to purchase food or supplies, for healthcare purposes or to take exercise in their local area.

The new form will allow the public to report breaches of self-isolation, as well as non-essential businesses who may be continuing to operate despite the lockdown.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush is urging New Zealanders to use the form instead of calling police with their reports.

"We know people want to do the right thing if they see others flouting the restrictions, but we want to ease the load on the non-emergency phone number," Bush said in a statement on Sunday.

"Police will take the information reported online and make contact to remind those breaching the restrictions of their responsibilities.

"We are continuing to take the approach of educating and informing people of their responsibilities in the first instance, but we will not hesitate to take enforcement action if people continue to ignore the restrictions."

Mike Bush.
Mike Bush. Photo credit: Getty

The Commissioner says if New Zealanders stay at home and follow the Government's guidelines, there will be no reason for others to report their behaviour. 

During a press conference on Sunday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said there have been more than 2000 calls reporting self-isolation breaches to the 111 emergency number.

"The Commissioner urges the public to use the form over the phone number," Ardern reiterated. "It's always best to do it from the form rather than the phone."

On Wednesday, national communication centres' manager Supt Dave Trappitt said: "It is absolutely vital that people only call 111 if they are facing an emergency situation.

"For example, if someone is badly injured or in danger; there's a serious risk to life or property, such as a house fire; a crime is being committed and the offenders are there or have just left; or you've come across a major public inconvenience, like a tree blocking a road."

The online form joins a dedicated email established by the Ministry of Health last week - - which can also be used to report breaches of lockdown protocol. 

"Priority will be given to messages from confirmed cases and the contacts of confirmed cases and will also enable notifications of reported breaches of self-isolation and mass gathering requirements," the ministry advised.

Police are encouraging the public to be patient after an influx of online reports following the announcement resulted in "heavy traffic".

"If you are having difficulty, please try again later."