Wasting police time, or community relations?

New Plymouth police have been rapped over the knuckles by national headquarters for taking a hospitable approach to those asking for a breath test.

It was reported earlier this month that people often entered the station asking to be tested. Officers, if not too busy, were happy to oblige.

However, New Plymouth police have now been told their approach does not line up with national policy – and that they should stop immediately.

“While these staff have acted in good faith and with the best of intentions, there is a risk if for example someone initially passes a test, then drives and is found later to be over the limit, or is involved in a crash, which could have tragic consequences,” Central Districts Acting District Commander Inspector Mark Harrison said.

Have we now turned into the United States, where people in official capacities are stopped from assisting the public out of kindness, in case there is a mistake and it causes some liability?  

“Staff have been reminded that we do not offer such a service, which is consistent with our national policy.”

Harrison said the best advice to those out socialising was “to make the choice whether to drink or drive – not both.”

“This is the responsibility of the individual. That means if you’re out drinking, please organise a safe way to get home, or make other arrangements. Drivers also need to take care if driving home in the morning after a night out as they may still be over the limit , so should take the appropriate precautions to ensure they are okay to get home safely.”

However, this is the exact advice officers in New Plymouth had been giving to those who came in to be tested.

Sergeant Bruce Irvine said at the time that those with any level of alcohol on their breath were advised not to drive because test results could change within minutes.

“We will always say this is here and now; if in 30 minutes you go and drive it could be different,” he said. “It’s not a get-out-of-jail free card. We advise unless you’re breathing zero it’s not worth taking the risk.”

I think it’s miserable to stop it on the basis that it may not provide a legal and proven excuse if you are later caught over the limit.

I don’t know what it is with the NZ Police when it comes to roads, drinking, driving and speeding.  They have been losing the public over the last 3 to 4 months with the way they are going about things.

Keep this up, and being a traffic cop is going to be multiple degrees less pleasant.

 

– Taranaki Daily News


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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