NSW Police have defended the actions of an officer who was seen tucked behind a pole on a busy Sydney road, appearing to catch people speeding as they drove by.
Many argued the policeman was being "sneaky" by intentionally hiding out of sight as a deliberate ploy to issue fines for anyone driving above the speed limit.
The offending act occurred on King George's Rd in the south Sydney suburb of Blakehurst last week. It's believed school zones were in place at the time reducing the speed limit to 40 km/h.
But the policeman's actions sparked a heated debate online about what should and shouldn't be allowed.
In a photo shared by a Sydney driver on Facebook, the police officer's motorcycle is seen perched on the footpath — something many said is a fineable offence.
Others questioned why the officer wasn't wearing a hi-vis uniform and argued authorities shouldn't "hide," and instead should be making themselves seen.
Revenue raising or saving lives?
"I am certain it is illegal to obstruct a pedestrian walkway with a motor vehicle, let alone park on a footpath," someone responded in the comments.
"So the point of this is that to enforce the law, the police knowingly break the law making an utter mockery of the entire process."
"Him hiding with a camera doesn't physically nor effectively slow the car down that is speeding," another argued. "God forbid a child gets hit by a car, how much can him being there prevent it from happening? It's purely to raise money."
Some labelled the strategy "disgraceful" and "grubby" and were shocked to see the lengths the officer appeared to go to "just to issue fines".
But there was a push back on such comments from those who believed he was doing the right thing, particularly in a school zone where children are at risk.
"I have the utmost respect for police, however this is not police work this is just good old revenue raising. Not sure blocking the footpath so kids have to walk around him onto the road is the best safety message," one said
"I’m sure I’m the only one that slows down to 40 in a school zone so I hope he catches a few," wrote another.
Another claimed this stretch of the road is a "hot spot" for speeding cars and urged everyone to slow down.
While many said the move could help save lives.
"Just slow down," some said.
NSW Police responds to backlash
NSW Police told Yahoo News Australia that Blakehurst is "over-represented in speed-related crashes" with King George's Rd in particular often subject to "formal complaints regarding excessive speed".
When asked if it was an acceptable practice for an officer to stand behind a pole a NSW Police spokesperson said "officers employ a number of different strategies when conducting speed enforcement duties depending on the circumstances".
There's also a reason for the motorcycle being parked on the footpath, they explained.
"Like all other road users, police must abide by the road rules; however, in some circumstances, police have an exemption under the Road Rules 2014, Rule 305," the statement said.
"Officers maintain close proximity to their vehicles for their own personal safety and in case there is a need to respond to a situation or an emergency."
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.