Maintenance of public safety should be the highest policing priority, and speed on our roads is one of the greatest threats to public safety. The Police have done a great job in recent years getting our road toll down. Now it seems their capacity to continue to improve road safety is threatened.
New Zealand Police have begun removing speed detection radars from vehicles throughout the country in what frontline officers say is a cost-cutting measure that could also cost lives.
A police national headquarters spokeswoman confirmed yesterday that some radars had been removed from vehicles, as part of a “replacement programme”…
Frontline officers told The Southland Times they had been told up to 400 Stalker detection units, which are leased, were to be removed from police vehicles as part of efforts to cut $21 million from the police operating budget.
They said officers using vehicles from which the radar sets had been removed were trying to do their jobs without them and they feared many speeding motorists would now escape without penalty.
And in a follow up article:
Like hardened speedsters avoiding radar traps, police dodged and evaded yesterday when questioned about the number of speed detection radar sets they are removing from patrol cars throughout the country, and why it is being done.
Frontline officers said they believed the sets were leased from a United States manufacturer and were being removed and sent back as a cost-cutting measure, part of a programme to shed $21 million from the Police budget.
However, national police headquarters would not even confirm yesterday that the sets were leased.
Police have acknowledged that Stalker radars are being removed from some cars as part of a “replacement and maintenance programme” but refused again yesterday to provide details on the numbers being removed, or whether all were to be replaced.
Why the evasiveness? Successive Police Ministers have often used the “operational independence” of the Police to avoid answering questions about Police operational matters. Now we see the Police themselves avoiding answering questions about operational matters that should be very easy for them to answer.
This comes on top of the NZ Herald revealing that over 300 fewer Police patrol cars may be on the roads as a result of cost-cutting measures. Police Commissioner Howard Broad refused to comment on that one too.
There is a distinct whiff of political interference in the Police refusal to give straight answers. Not a good look.
Someone has to be accountable, be it Commissioner Broad or Minister Judith Collins.