Police apologise for temporary ticketing error
"Police News Alert Issued *** 2.10 PM, February 18th (Tuesday) ***"
Police has apologised after a temporary computer problem resulted in thousands of people being accidentally ticketed for traffic offences they weren't liable for, including for vehicles they formerly owned.
The problem arose when an isolated fault in the Police ICT system resulted in vehicle transaction data from the NZ Transport Agency for the period between 22 October and 16 December last year not being automatically updated on Police systems as normal, affecting in excess of 20,000 traffic infringement notices.
National Road Policing Manager, Superintendent Carey Griffiths, said among those affected were people who had sold their vehicles during the two month period, who were then incorrectly ticketed for offences incurred by the new owners or others driving the vehicles. Also affected were those who had changed their address or their surname after getting married during the same period.
"Police sincerely apologise to all of those who have been affected by this one-off technical issue, which has now been resolved," Mr Griffiths said. "I can also reassure anyone who has been incorrectly ticketed as a result of our mistake that they won't need to pay the fine, and anyone who has paid in error will be completely refunded."
Mr Griffiths said Police became aware of the issue when a member of the public contacted the Police Infringement Bureau (PIB) about a notice received for a vehicle she no longer owned. However, the scale of the problem only became clear this week as a result of ongoing investigations.
"Once the problem was brought to our attention, Police took action to investigate and ensure it was fixed," Mr Griffiths said. "We have also put a number of steps in place to ensure it does not happen again."
The affected traffic notices included mainly speed camera infringements, and a smaller number of other camera-related notices, including red light camera offences, as well as Police-issued parking notices. Council-issued parking notices are not affected.
Police is now in the process of ensuring that the liability for these infringements is transferred away from those incorrectly ticketed across to those responsible. However, Mr Griffiths said any further action on these notices would be considered on a case by case basis, depending on the circumstances.
"In short, this means that any previous vehicle owner incorrectly ticketed won't need to pay the infringement, and anyone who has paid in error, will get their money back. Meanwhile, those owners who may now be receiving notices should contact the PIB if they have any issues or questions."
Higher demand during the busy holiday period also meant that people attempting to contact the PIB about the problem via phone had experienced delays, Mr Griffiths said.
"We apologise to those people who experienced delays in trying to get through to us to report the problem, which understandably caused additional frustration."
Mr Griffiths said while the total amount of any incorrectly issued notices was unknown, the individual amounts involved could potentially range from $30 to $630. However, based on previous infringement data for the same period, the largest proportion were likely to be in the $30 bracket.
"Police once again apologises to all those people affected by this problem, including previous vehicle owners, as well as motor traders and dealers, who have understandably been fielding calls and complaints from concerned customers.
"If anyone has questions or concerns over an infringement they believe may have been issued incorrectly, we ask them to make contact the PIB straight away with their notice details so we can put it right," Mr Griffiths said.
"To avoid any potential delays, we strongly recommend that people go onto the Police website and contact the PIB via the online form that's available. We will then work as quickly as we can to transfer liability for the incorrect infringements to the rightful person and refund any money that may have been paid in error to us."
To contact the PIB.