Police launch operation against Auckland dirt bike riders

"Auckland has had a gutsful of this."

That's what Police told Newshub on Monday as they launched an operation against men riding dirt bikes around the city in large groups, and often without helmets.

Police say many of the riders have gang connections and ride in a way that intimidates the public.

They confiscated several bikes today after surrounding a park in Ōtara.

Newshub filmed gang members, affiliates and hangers-on returning to their home patch in Ōtara from what they called a memorial ride but Police say was a display of intimidation.

"There's huge risk when they're driving dangerously on the road. Not only to themselves but to the members of the public trying to do their normal stuff," said Inspector Kerry Watson, from Auckland Police.

"And I have to say probably Auckland's had a gutsful of this and we're trying our best to stop it." 

The sole bikie with a helmet Newshub saw only wore it to mount a GoPro.

"We're well aware that there's a group of cyclists that don't want to follow the rules, we're putting plans in place to stop that," Insp Watson said.

Police say there were a number of crashes and a number of motorcyclists failed to stop for them.

"So currently we've got them contained within a local park, so we're going through that park now with the intent to apprehend these people," Insp Watson said.

Police deployed dogs, their own bikes and plenty of personnel. It quickly turned into a game of cat and mouse. This unmarked car almost sent one bikie down a blind alley but the quarry squeezed out and away.

Police on foot were no match for the motorbikes in what resembled an unfairly skewed game of bullrush.

In desperation, one officer threw his baton, a move a senior officer described as "not exactly textbook".

But inside Ngati Ōtara Park there were plenty of wins for Police. Several arrests were made. Expensive-looking off-road bikes that are illegal to ride on the road were confiscated.

"Historically with these large rides, they really intimidate the public and we've had a number of incidents where members of the public have been assaulted seriously so whilst this was a planned operation it kind of got out of hand due to the behaviour of these motorcyclists so we're here to put a stop to it," Insp Watson said.

Many of today's riders wore the colours of the Killer Beez but others also joined in.

Despite the crackdown around 100 Killer Beez set off from south Auckland to west Auckland. When they came back to south Auckland they went to a park - but Police sent up the Eagle helicopter and started making arrests.

Police have so far refused to give any further details, such as how many people were arrested or how many bikes were confiscated.

But under the operation the first arrests were made Sunday. And in the early evening at Quaver Park, came what police have feared all along: a serious accident.

"Last night we had a collision with a dirt bike and another vehicle driving absolutely horrendously. The information we've had is that person was critically injured and may not survive," Insp Watson said.

"So it's not only dangerous to the public, these idiots are just doing dumb stuff with dumb outcomes."

These mass rides are becoming more commonplace and Police say it's scary stuff for anyone who gets mixed up in it.

"Yeah it's been a growing issue. and it's taken a while to deal with it and we hope today might send a strong message," Insp Watson said.

Associates, in turn, filmed friends, foes and Newshub on social media. One gang member said he was livestreaming to 2000 viewers as police tried to seize one last bike.

"These c***s they're going to have one more try and that's them they reckon," they said.

But police say this is far from over.

"Our message to them is just stop it. It's pointless and we're not going to let it go," Insp Watson said.

The first skirmish in what could be a long and difficult battle.