Christchurch Earthquake - Bogus officials in Christchurch

Christchurch Earthquake - Bogus officials in Christchurch

National News

Residents of Christchurch are being encouraged to be cautious and vigilant as a trend of people impersonating officials starts to emerge.

Police have received reports of individuals posing as EQC staff members going door-to-door asking questions about electronic equipment inside the houses, and people in high visibility vests on properties who disappear quickly when they realise they have been seen.

There have also been reports of at least two people of Australian nationality presenting themselves to the fire service as both Urban Search and Rescue and Disaster Victim Identification staff. Enquiries showed these people are not credited to either role.

Supt Russell Gibson said: "Whether the goal for these people is for criminal reasons of out of ghoulish curiosity it is not acceptable. Even if these people are trying to find a means to be helpful in some way, it may be well intended but it is misguided. We have not given up hope of finding people alive which means time is of the essence and the actions of these individuals are unhelpful to the search and rescue process."

Any officials working in Christchurch should be carrying official identification and will not be offended if they are asked to show their ID. Later today 100 structural assessment teams will be going door-to-door in various suburbs and all will be carrying official ID.

Anyone trying to illegitimately enter the CBD cordons is also putting their life at risk as there are still serious safety issues in the city. The Grand Chancellor Hotel remains unstable, a building in Chancery Lane had to be demolished this evening and another building (Securitas House) on the corner of Gloucester Street and Madras Street is also now causing concern. With every aftershock there is a risk of further damage.

An accreditation system has been set up to ensure that the CBD restrictions are adhered to. Only legitimate workers who are accredited to have access and residents clear to access their homes can enter the cordon. Media have been advised of the specific policy relating to media access to the CBD.

Anyone breaching these cordon restrictions is liable for arrest.

Police media enquiries should be referred to 0274 320 960.