Police Commissioner clarifies road policing enforcement

Police Commissioner clarifies road policing enforcement

National News

Police Commissioner Howard Broad has highlighted safety and crash reduction as the sole focus of Police road policing enforcement.

In a memorandum issued to Police District Commanders this morning the Commissioner emphasised that police commanders and supervisors were to deploy patrol staff to known crash problem areas.

"There will be no backing away from appropriate enforcement. We know that our policies have saved countless lives. The fact that the road toll this year is 41 deaths down on the same time last year and that the road toll for the twelve months to 3 July was 361 compared with 450 for the same period last year is not by chance," said Commissioner Broad.

"Mean rural speeds have gone down to 97.1 km/hr in 2005 and urban mean speeds have dropped to 52.4 in 2005."

The Commissioner said a close focus of general enforcement targets would continue on a district, area and group basis with a greater emphasis on places and times of known risk.

The majority of Police districts operate a practice of using "crash books" which define risk areas and provide data and analysis covering indicators such as the number and causes of crashes. Supervisors will be required to ensure that patrols are deployed against known risk factors including speed, drink-driving, safety belt wearing and intersections.

Speed tolerance levels will not change and enforcement will be applied wherever and whenever offences are detected.

The Commissioner also signalled that he intends to work with the Ministry of Transport and other road safety partners to further enhance the tools used to measure the effectiveness of crash statistics.

A copy of the Commissioner's memorandum to District Commanders follows:

Memorandum

To: All District Commanders

From: Commissioner Howard Broad

Subject: Road Policing Enforcement Policy

Date: 5 July 2006

As you will be aware, I have come under pressure to concede that Police road policing enforcement practice is either "revenue gathering", "quotas" or in effect a form of bounty hunting. I cannot and do not accept this label for our Police Road Policing function.

I firmly believe on the basis of very good evidence that if we enforce laws relating to crash causing behaviour at places of known risk and time we will reduce road trauma. Our experience in recent years reinforces this evidence.

I believe that we must deploy our staff as accurately as possible to risk places and times. Of course, we must also monitor our performance in relation to this objective. Primarily this monitoring must focus on where and how crashes are occurring, and the measurement of specific strategies we have adopted to reduce the risk.

The challenge is to achieve high quality practice in a publicly acceptable manner.

Therefore, what I want you to do is to ensure that:

1. you attain a detailed understanding of your crash risk by completing "crash books" that describe the risk in your district. Can I acknowledge and support those districts who have already implemented this.

2. your deployment instructions to patrols are clear on where the officers are to patrol and the type of offending they are primarily to detect. However, I expect that wherever offences are detected the appropriate enforcement action is to be taken.

3. that there is high quality leadership and supervision of patrol staff. Supervisors are to ensure that the patrols are carried out as deployed, specifically by:

a. visiting staff in their patrol area on a regular basis.

b. checking detected offences against deployment priorities to ensure substantial compliance.

c. comparing enforcement activity with other relevant information, that may include:

i. The enforcement behaviour of other officers deployed to similar risk plans and times.

ii. The previous enforcement behaviour of the officer coupled with any training or guidance given (to see, for example, if the training or guidance has had an effect).

4. district and area road policing management monitor the link between crash trends and enforcement behaviour and have relevant performance indicators. It is permissible to establish general enforcement targets on a district, area and group basis - but these are not to be allocated to individual staff.

I intend to work with the Ministry of Transport to define better tools with which to measure the effectiveness of the strategies that aim to reduce the road toll.

Please take action to implement the intent of this memo to you as soon as possible.

Howard Broad

Commissioner of Police