Wednesday, 24 March 2004 - 2:00pm |
National News

Officer discretion remains for speeding tickets

2 min read

Police Commissioner Rob Robinson says that front line officers continue to have discretion over the issuing of speeding infringements and tolerances up to 10 kilometres over the posted limit remain.

The 10 kilometre tolerance factor has been a police operational policy in recent years and continues to be the policy. It is, however, a "tolerance" and not a defacto maximum speed limit.

Commissioner Robinson said that claims by the Opposition spokesperson on Police that police officers were being told to ticket all drivers over the speed limit were wrong.

"Let me make it crystal clear. There is no link between road policing enforcement and government revenue gathering."

"There is absolutely no connection between the funding of road policing outputs and any revenue derived from infringements issued. The separation was covered in a report by the Auditor General in April 2002 where he clearly dismissed any notion of a link between speed cameras and revenue collection."

"The public are certainly a lot more aware of speed enforcement as my staff are being a lot more effective in enforcing the speed limit."

"This is in line with the policy of general deterrence where the road safety experts tell us that any overall reduction in average road speeds will save lives."

"While Police supervisors and managers have certainly tasked their staff with being productive there is no way that the statutorily enshrined powers of constabular independence are being over-ridden."

Commissioner Robinson said that discretion did cut both ways and that in terms of the legally enforceable limits the posted speed limits were the ones that the public should be aiming to keep within.

"If the road and weather conditions are poor and an officer determines that someone travelling over the limit is unsafe then they may well be ticketed. That is a far cry, however, from a policy of no-discretion," said Mr. Robinson.

The Commissioner noted that as Police moved towards introduction of the "Anywhere Anytime" speed camera programme he expected that political attacks on the police enforcement policies would increase.

"The Year to Date road toll gives me further encouragement we should not back off our current policy. At present we’re heading for a 2004 road toll of 460 plus, way more than the 404 of two years ago."

"It is our job to remind some road users of their obligations to other users of the roads. If they drive safely then all other users are safer. I support the efforts of my staff absolutely in endeavouring to achieve this," said Mr. Robinson.