Why po­lice fo­cus on driv­ing

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

Crashes on roads in Porirua and Kapiti take more of Paul Basham’s fo­cus than homi­cide.

Kapiti-Mana Po­lice’s area com­man­der said the five ‘‘driv­ers’’ for his staff in the dis­trict are, in no par­tic­u­lar or­der, youth, fam­ily vi­o­lence, or­gan­ised crime and drugs, al­co­hol, and road polic­ing.

Basham said ev­ery mem­ber of the Kapiti- Mana po­lice staff, in­clud­ing CIB and the lead­er­ship group that in­cludes him­self, must do a cer­tain amount of time each month pa­trolling the roads.

‘‘ Sta­tis­ti­cally, six times more peo­ple are killed on the roads than are mur­dered,’’ he said. ‘‘Yes, the road toll is trend­ing down, but it needs to get bet­ter.

‘‘ The in­juries caused on our roads and high­ways, to fam­i­lies and to the coun­try fi­nan­cially, are dev­as­tat­ing.’’

The cost to the coun­try an­nu­ally was about $1.3 bil­lion, he said, with each fa­tal ac­ci­dent hav­ing a price tag of $3 mil­lion.

‘‘Think about what we could do with that money – hip op­er­a­tions, ap­pren­tice­ships, the list goes on.’’

Se­nior sergeant Anita Dixon is the head of road polic­ing for this dis­trict.

She said driv­ers were gen­er­ally well-be­haved and that she could count only one fa­tal car ac­ci­dent in Kapiti-Mana in the past year.

In that time the num­ber of crashes in the dis­trict dropped 14 per cent.

Dixon said the five road polic­ing ar­eas of­fi­cers fo­cused on were speed, re­straint ( seat­belts), dan­ger­ous and care­less driv­ing, high- risk driv­ers and drinkdriv­ing.

Dixon said she made no apolo­gies for the num­ber of tick­ets is­sued for driv­ing of­fences, be­cause in­fringe­ment no­tices had been shown to mod­ify be­hav­iour.

‘‘There is no rev­enue-gath­er­ing, there are no quo­tas,’’ she said. ‘‘If you get a ticket for an of­fence com­mit­ted on the road, you will mod­er­ate your be­hav­iour in the month af­ter­wards.

‘‘It re­duces the risk to your­self and other peo­ple.’’

Dixon said po­lice would con­tinue to be vis­i­ble in Kapiti-Mana, and not nec­es­sar­ily just at spots where ac­ci­dents were known to oc­cur.

The fear of be­ing de­tected was a huge de­ter­rent to speed­ing and un­safe driv­ing, she said, so po­lice be­ing seen on the roads was vi­tal.

Po­lice would also con­tinue to work with lo­cal coun­cils and NZ Trans­port Agency on the ‘‘ safer jour­neys’’ pro­gramme to en­sure peo­ple were aware of how dan­ger­ous New Zealand roads could be, Basham said.

‘‘ The coun­try’s roads are un­for­giv­ing. Most state high­ways are two lanes – one mis­take can be costly.’’

Basham said if you polled 1000 po­lice of­fi­cers, 95 per cent would say they joined the force to make a dif­fer­ence in their com­mu­ni­ties. Mod­i­fy­ing driver be­hav­iour was part of that, he said.

Kapi-Mana News will be speak­ing to Kapiti-Mana Po­lice’s area com­man­der Paul Basham reg­u­larly to up­date read­ers on top­i­cal is­sues.

Photo: FAIR­FAX

Polic­ing our roads: With State High­way 1 through the mid­dle of the Kapi­tiMana po­lice dis­trict, road polic­ing will al­ways be a pri­or­ity.

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