20,000 traffic tickets wrongly issued

By Patrice Dougan

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

Have you been stung with a wrongly issued ticket? Contact the Herald here.

Police have apologised after wrongly issuing more than 20,000 traffic tickets because of a computer glitch.

Police said the "temporary computer problem" resulted in fines for those who were ticketed, including some for vehicles they no longer owned.

Information from the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) over the period October 22 to December 16 was not automatically updated on police systems, police said. The "isolated fault" affected in excess of 20,000 traffic infringement notices.

Among those affected were people who had sold their vehicles during the two-month period, who were then incorrectly ticketed for offences incurred by the new owners or others driving the vehicles, national road policing manager, superintendent Carey Griffith said.

Also affected were people who had changed their address or their surname after getting married.

"Police sincerely apologise to all of those who have been affected by this one-off technical issue, which has now been resolved," Mr Griffiths said.

"I can also reassure anyone who has been incorrectly ticketed as a result of our mistake that they won't need to pay the fine, and anyone who has paid in error will be completely refunded."

Police became aware of the issue when a member of the public contacted the Police Infringement Bureau (PIB) about a notice received for a vehicle she no longer owned, he said.

However, the scale of the problem only became clear this week as a result of ongoing investigations.

"Once the problem was brought to our attention, police took action to investigate and ensure it was fixed," Mr Griffiths said. "We have also put a number of steps in place to ensure it does not happen again."

The affected traffic notices included mainly speed camera infringements and a smaller number of other camera-related notices including red light camera offences, as well as police-issued parking notices.

Council-issued parking notices are not affected.

Higher demand during the busy holiday period also meant that people attempting to contact the PIB about the problem over the phone had experienced delays, Mr Griffiths said.

While the total amount of incorrectly issued notices was unknown, the individual amounts involved could potentially range from $30 to $630, he said.

"Police once again apologise to all those people affected by this problem, including previous vehicle owners as well as motor traders and dealers, who have understandably been fielding calls and complaints from concerned customers.

"If anyone has questions or concerns over an infringement they believe may have been issued incorrectly, we ask them to make contact the PIB straight away with their notice details so we can put it right," Mr Griffiths said.

- APNZ

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