Northland's 30 most high-risk drivers will get a little bit more police attention as part of a new approach to help repeat traffic offenders.

The three-month long operation - the first of its kind in Northland - starts today, and will see the Harm Reduction Team of five officers work through a list of 30 people identified by police as recidivist traffic offenders and high-risk.

The four officers and one sergeant would be split across the region and work their way through an initial list of 30 people police had identified through their system.

Northland road policing team leader Senior Sergeant Steve Dickson said the officers came from various sections within the police and would include iwi liaison officers.


"Those officers will be approaching the drivers, their parents and family members trying to find out why they are offending and continuing to drive. We will be looking at any outside assistance we can give them for example drug or alcohol counselling.

"Some people need help with areas of their lives that are impairing their decision on the road," Dickson said.

As the busy summer period on the road approaches, Northland's road toll stands at 28 — 11 in Far North, 10 in Whangārei and seven in Kaipara.

Statistics show 65 per cent of Maori offenders have a driving offence as part of their initial jail sentence and about 5 per cent of jail sentences are for driving without a licence.

A driver training programme launched in Whangārei, which has now been extended to Kaikohe and Kaitaia due to demand, has helped 1147 people gain a legal licence during nearly two and a half years in operation.

The Howard League unlicensed offenders' driving programme gives second offenders the tools and access to obtain their driver licence and avoid more offences resulting in prison time.

It was launched in Whangarei in June 2017. People are referred to the course by probation officers.

A driving force behind the Whangarei programme is driver training co-ordinator Amy Clark, who said there were several reasons why second offenders did not get their licence.


Literacy was one problem and also other barriers such as financial cost, access to a legal car or not having the acceptable identification such as a birth certificate.

"For a lot of them it's about lacking confidence too. They have heard so many horror stories about the test and they don't want to fail," Clark said.

"My pass rate is 90 per cent and it just opens up opportunities for people and takes away barriers."

Clark is also helping people get truck licences.

"When you've got a licence there's a better chance at getting a job. Having a licence is crucial to surviving in society."

She said it also meant fewer people clogging up the courts and prisons on traffic-related charges.