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