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King: Police have no speeding quota policy

3 July 2006

King: Police have no speeding quota policy

Police Minister Annette King says she has been assured by Police Commissioner Howard Broad that there is no policy requiring police staff to issue a set quota of tickets for speeding.

"The controversy over the weekend has arisen from what has been described by police themselves as a 'daft' memo issued in the Central police district. I am assured that that memo had nothing to do with police policy, and that it represents misguided road policing at a local level," she says.

Ms King says police make no apology for taking a tough stance on speeding, however. "The total social cost of motor vehicle injury crashes is estimated at $3307 million in 2005, down from $3340 million in 2004. Police and the government transport sector attribute much of this reduction to enforcement, but the figures illustrate that the amount of money collected in fines is actually very small compared to the actual cost of traffic crashes.

"But let's forget about costs for a moment. Let's look at actual lives. The road toll this calendar year is so far 188, down from 229 at the same time last year, and the number of fatal crashes so far this year is 175, down from 188.

"In 2005, speeding was a contributing factor in 112 fatal crashes, 426 serious crashes, and 1269 minor injury crashes. These crashes resulted in 130 deaths. That shows how vital it is to eliminate speed on our roads.

"The campaign against speed is working as far as most New Zealanders are concerned. The community is doing well. There were 160,000 fewer speeding tickets and infringements in 2005 than in 2004," she says.

"Getting a ticket actually makes people think more about speeding and deters them from doing it. Less than 5 percent of drivers now exceed 110km on the open road, down from an average of more than 20 percent in 1997-99. This can be attrributed largely to enforcement and education, the twin prongs of police policy.

"A good example of police working well with the community concerned the campaign to prevent speeding outside schools earlier this year. In the past five years 1200 child pedestrians have been killed or injured during school terms, with speed a significant contributing factor.

"Police are required to concentrate on a wide range of areas, including alcohol, speeding, seat belts, vehicle fitness, fatigue and intersections. They are doing all these things."

Ms King says that this month a series of stakeholder and community meetings will commence around the country to develop new policies to reduce deaths and injuries on our roads.

"The target is no more than 300 deaths and 4500 hospitalisations by 2010. We expect a wide range of submissions from the community. People might even say they would rather have demerit points rather than fines. That doesn't worry the Government. All we want is less deaths and less injuries. We want them to be safe on our roads."

ENDS

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