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Police finding ways of being kinder to offending drivers

News from NZ Police
Wellington District road policing staff are having great success with alternative resolutions for some drivers. Unlicensed drivers are being supported through the licensing process and others referred to Te Pae Oranga/Iwi Community Panels instead of being issued with infringement notices or being charged.

Three recent examples highlight this success.

Wellington Constable Kath Lees was following up with a young forbidden driver who had gone over the 28 day period to obtain a licence. She discovered a barrier for this young man was dyslexia. She explained the reader writer program and offered to go with him.

He accepted her offer and Constable Lees picked him up and took him to book his licence in two days later. He passed his test and could not hide his excitement when she rang to congratulate him.

In a similar case in the Wairarapa, Inspector Scott Miller recently stopped a man who was on the second day of a new job and had booked to sit his licence three days later. Instead of taking enforcement action Inspector Miller decided to give the man the opportunity to get his licence and show up to the station with proof.

Three days later he arrived at the station having successfully gained his licence and secured an apprenticeship at his new job.

Te Pae Oranga/Iwi Community Panels are also providing positive outcomes.

Another Wairarapa case saw a young man referred to a panel on a number of driving related charges. The panel identified that he had a lack of support so brought family members in to contribute to the ongoing process. As a result of the panel and engaging family support, he paid reparation, is in the process of sitting the correct licence, and has not re-offended.

Wellington District Road Policing Manager Jan Craig says an infringement notice is not the only option to achieve road safety goals.

“It is not about throwing the book at drivers, we want to influence positive change and only issue infringements when absolutely necessary.

“When officers interact with people at the roadside they decide what action will have the most influence on a driver’s behaviour.

“Sometimes people just need a chance to step up to be supported to do the right thing. If our officers can help them do that and make our roads safer at the same time, that is a great outcome,” she says.

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