Staff rack up speed fines

Waikato Times - - NEWS - JO LINES-MACKEN­ZIE

Peo­ple be­hind the wheel of Cor­rec­tions ve­hi­cles have found them­selves com­mit­ting speed­ing of­fences over 1000 times in the past four years.

This in­cludes two Cor­rec­tions cars be­ing pinged for go­ing nearly 40kmh over the speed limit – two de­part­ment driv­ers were clocked at 138km.

Cor­rec­tions De­part­ment spokesman Neil Cherry said that nei­ther of the ve­hi­cles car­ried offenders at the time. He said that in both in­stances, the ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion would be taken.

The in­fringe­ment would be dis­cussed with the in­di­vid­ual em­ployee and, de­pend­ing on the na­ture of the in­fringe­ment, a dis­ci­plinary process may pro­ceed . From there, Cor­rec­tions would make an ap­pro­pri­ate de­ci­sion re­lat­ing to em­ploy­ment, Cherry said.

An Of­fi­cial In­for­ma­tion Act re­quest has shown that in the past four years, Cor­rec­tions has had 1163 in­fringe­ment tick­ets handed out na­tion­ally be­tween 2013 and May 2017.

Sixty-nine were in the Waikato. Cor­rec­tions has 8760 staff na­tion­wide; 1176 of those work in the Waikato. Na­tion­ally, staff have the use of 1223 ve­hi­cles. The Waikato has 223 of those.

The ve­hi­cles are used in at least 18 adult pris­ons – 10 in the North ls­land and eight in the South.

Tens of thou­sands of pris­oner es­corts hap­pen each year, Cherry said. The pur­pose of those include court ap­point­ments, spe­cial­ist med­i­cal ap­point­ments, prison trans­fers and ex­ter­nal re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Ve­hi­cles can also be used in the ad­min­is­tra­tion of com­mu­ni­ty­based sen­tences, for trans­port­ing drug dogs and to trans­port staff be­tween sites.

Cherry said that all staff trusted with the use of a de­part­ment ve­hi­cle are ex­pected to ad­here to strict guide­lines and con­di­tions of use.

Em­ploy­ees are re­spon­si­ble for the fines in­curred from speed­ing tick­ets.

When Cor­rec­tions re­ceives mailed fines from speed cam­eras, the driver re­spon­si­ble is iden­ti­fied and is trans­ferred into the driver’s name.

There are times Cor­rec­tions foots the bill. It usu­ally hap­pens when Cor­rec­tions is un­able to have the in­di­vid­ual em­ploy­ees meet the cost of the fine, which gen­er­ally hap­pens when their em­ploy­ment with Cor­rec­tions has ended be­fore the fine no­tice is is­sued.

The de­part­ment takes all rea­son­able ef­forts to re­cover the cost of all traf­fic in­fringe­ments, Cherry said. In the 2016/17 fi­nan­cial year, the most fines (106) came from speed cam­eras. The next high­est was on spot speed fines. Four­teen were cited for other driv­ing of­fences and three had driver-li­cence ci­ta­tions.

Most speed­ing of­fences were 11 to 20kmh over the limit.

PHOTO: STUFF

Be­tween 2016 and May 2017, De­part­ment of Cor­rec­tions ve­hi­cles have been snapped speed­ing 175 times (file photo).

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