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Police threatened with pay penalties over tickets

Simon Power
National Party Law & Order Spokesman

19 July 2006

Police threatened with pay penalties over traffic tickets

Police officers have been told their pay could be affected if they do not write more traffic tickets, says National’s Law & Order spokesman, Simon Power.

“It is very disturbing that police officers are being put under internal and financial pressure to write traffic tickets.”

He is releasing a memo concerning the monitoring of traffic performance by staff in Levin Police District last year that says:

- Any staff who do not believe they should be doing traffic work could be busted down to part-time employees and lose 20% of their pay.
- Staff who didn't issue enough tickets would be named and shamed, would not be considered for additional training courses or specialised duties, and that ‘this may affect their annual pay increments’.
- The Area and District Commanders will be told of staff who perform well, and this will be reflected in performance appraisals, along with ‘other benefits to top performers’.

Mr Power says he has previously raised serious concerns that ticket writing shouldn’t get in the way of fighting crime and traffic safety, “but it seems that is exactly what is happening”.

“Two weeks ago the Police Minister and the Prime Minister dismissed an earlier memo on ticket targets as a one-off – after years of denying that this practise existed.

“We are clearly dealing with a policy, not a one-off aberration, as they claimed.

“The existence of this memo proves there has been a directive to increase the number of traffic tickets over ‘catching crooks’.

“I believe the public will be very concerned that crime fighting and crime solving, together with traffic safety, are being put to one side for the sake of writing tickets.

“And just yesterday Annette King told me in answer to a written question that police do not receive incentives, financial or otherwise, if they issue a particular number of tickets.

“Our police do a fantastic job under all sorts of external pressure, so the last thing they need is internal pressure of this nature. It is no wonder that experienced officers continue to leave at the rate of nearly 400 a year.”

Attachments x 2:

Police memo

Answer to PQ 8542


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