“SAPOL has no quotas for the issuing of expiation notices and never has,” begins a police statement intended to clarify what went wrong after a police manager was found offering a gift card as incentive for handing out more fines.
The manager had purchased the card as an incentive for officers to issue fines the most drivers, using their own money for the card.
South Australia Police (SAPOL) says the person responsible sent an email out to staff offering “an incentive to the police officer who made the greatest contribution to road safety by way of Traffic Infringement Notice Expiations or Cautions.”
The email was intended to drum up activity during SAPOL’s current ‘Operation Fatal Distraction,’ which a previous statement says is actually targeted at mobile phone use while driving.
SAPOL’s road safety boss Superintendent Bob Gray said of the operation, in the earlier statement, that he sees distracted driving as a huge threat to safe roads.
“There is clearly a section of our motoring community who are just not getting the road safety message - or they simply just don’t care who they hurt – including themselves,” he said.
The more recent correction statement conversely distanced SAPOL from the idea that it seeks to fine speeding drivers whenever possible.
“The practice of offering incentives is not supported or condoned,” the statement reads.
“Police officers dealing with breaches of the road rules have the discretion to determine the most appropriate action under the circumstances. This may include the issue of an expiation notice or a formal caution.”
SA’s police minister Corey Wingard told the ABC he didn’t condone incentives for policing, and that he was disappointed the gift card had been offered as one.
"We want to do what we can to stop dangerous behaviour on our roads and that's what police should be doing, not having a competition," he told ‘Aunty’.
"It's not about revenue raising, this is making sure we change behaviour on the roads to make sure people are safe.”