Money worries in police road checks

Funding for road police to carry out more vehicle checks after changes to the warrant of fitness (WOF) system will be increased but fears have surfaced that additional staff won't be hired to cover expanded road policing duties

Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges has announced cars less than 13 years old will need warrant of fitness checks only once a year, rather than six-monthly.

New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) announced yesterday police would receive more funding in addition to the $300 million it is funded to cover road policing.

NZTA chief executive Geoff Dangerfield would not say how much the increase would be..

"We're intending to lift the budget there a little bit to deal with more enforcement activities from police related to this," he said. "A small increase would give us quite a bit of what we're looking for here."

Mr Dangerfield said the extra funding would cover more roadside checks of things such as brakes, lights and tyres.

Police Association president Greg O'Connor said the changes to the WOF system were a good compromise, but called for increased funding to be used to hire extra staff and did not want to see frontline staff seconded to the task.

Mr O'Connor said some police already carried out roadside checks of vehicles but the number of these checks would increase under the changes and would require more police officers. He said the biggest danger was if staff were required to do the work and the funding wasn't used on the new policing regime. "Every time you get a new, important regime the resource invariably comes from the front line section, as long as there are extra staff to do this it will work - not just moving the deck chairs," he said.

Mr O'Connor said not all police officers would have the skills to carry out roadside checks and extra training and equipment would be needed.

The changes to the WOF system are tagged to save motorists $159 million a year. APNZ

- Bay of Plenty Times

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