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Police told to focus on tickets, not crime

Simon Power National Party Law & Order Spokesman

20 July 2006

Police told to focus on tickets, not crime

Police in Marlborough were last month ordered to stop focusing on drug and dishonesty crimes so they could write more traffic tickets, according to a leaked memo obtained by National Law and Order spokesman Simon Power.

"This is further evidence that just weeks ago there was a mindset in the police that they should concentrate on traffic ticket writing at the expense of fighting crime."

The June 6 memo, leaked to The Marlborough Express newspaper, says:

* The District Commander had pulled the plug on Operation Vanquish, which targeted drug and dishonesty crimes, and directed officers to focus on traffic tickets until the end of the financial year, June 30. * All sworn officers must write at least two traffic notices each shift: 'That simply means that each time you arrive at work your first priority is now to issue a minimum of two notices before you finish.'
· All supervisors were 'directed - not asked - directed to ensure that this occurs. This is quite simply what will happen - no excuses'.
· 'This is the district commander's priority - everything else is secondary.

"This is the third leaked memo in as many weeks which orders more traffic tickets to be written, suggesting that the two earlier memos were not one-offs, as the Minister claimed.

"In other words, police tactics were being driven by the need to meet targets.

"Why would these directives mention the end of the financial year if they had nothing to do with targets or revenue gathering?

"This memo - like the previous two - does not once mention traffic safety or accident black spots. It mentions only writing tickets and ticket targets.

"Local commanders do not make this stuff up.

"Ordering a priority on ticket writing in the final weeks of the financial year clearly reflects an expectation of reaching targets, especially when it comes at the expense of an anti-crime operation described by local police as making a 'fantastic impact into Marlborough's crime scene and criminals'.

"This sort of stuff comes from on high, and I just wish the Commissioner and the Minister would come clean and admit they have been directing district commanders to go down this line. Either that or neither of them has any control over the districts. That is what it looks like to the public.

"Annette King must now ensure the public that ticket writing is not being given priority over other crime fighting."


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