Road Police distracted by 'P' action

Published: Fri 24 Nov 2006 03:37 PM
Candor Trust Press Release
Road Police distracted by 'P' action
Police are prioritising drug offenses over drugged driving, shifting the focus away from safety and security, Candor (Campaign Against Drugs on Roads) claims. Trust Members are disappointed that pleas for justice for Road Victims are treated with contempt by Police.
'Frontliners seem unable to see beyond the thrill of seizing P lab components when out in traffic'. Responding to 'yet another infuriating news report' Members hope Police will 'wake up to the short sightedness of primarily chasing or dealing with P addled drivers, only because of overwhealming interest in what's in the boot'.
'Only a long track record of gloating over drug equipment discoveries in the media and of appearing to let impaired drivers literally walk, so long as they get nailed for their vehicles cargo - it undermines drug drivers' victims confidence in a Police force that cares about road safety'.
Members are disturbed that Steven Ian Cameron was only charged by CHCH Police with dangerous driving causing injury. 'People ought consider that this unfolded after Cameron was found at his crash scene with Methamphetamine gear in his vehicle, and it seems he did face charges related to that' said the Trusts Spokesperson Ms Ford.
'How can having drug gear in your possession be more serious than having posed an immediate threat to other road users safety'. Candor Members say they believe the dangerous driving charge could well have been inappropriate and that adding the more serious charge of driving under the influence should have been an option better explored.
'We feel this because we know of many cases where offenders boast that they got away with it because drug driving is not Polices focus when dealing with offenders - they don't test and if they do they drop the ball - there's that and the circumstantial evidence all around Camerons case of course'
'We'd really like to know if a Road Police Officer trained in recognising drug impairment involved in the investigation - but Police are cagey on revealing their methods or lack there-of'
Candor is acutely aware of ongoing defective Police procedures and say Police should cough up and publicly admit whether investigators of Camerons case were adequately trained in what should be a basic Road Policing skill - recognising intoxication. Not only by alcohol - but by the other 4 traffic risk drugs.
Another concern of members is that if Mr Cameron and others like him are by some rare twist of fate subjected to testing and found then to be drug impaired it could all be used as a bargaining chit. Whereby such offenders may get offered some leniency (reduced charges) - in return for highly valued drug world info.
Such strategies can ill impact road safety and cost innocent lives later. For a blind folded judiciary dealing with an alleged 'careless' or 'dangerous' driver before them will not necessarily disqualify such traffic offenders as there can be no clue about their added irresponsibility in driving impaired.
Sentencing errors by the judiciary which are traceable to cowboy Policing kill New Zealanders all the time, says Trust Co-ordinator Ms Ford. 'Drug impaired drivers are so privileged over fast disqualified drink drivers as they get to carry on drug driving, only picking up odd fines along the way as they maim and kill'.
We know unsophisticated Policing contributed to Luke Voice killing. A careless driving charge chalked up for insane high risk driving while drugged saw the addict sentenced to driving school 40 days before he killed an innocent road user.
Another drug addict perhaps known to Voice through their methadone clinic, who went on to break Student Abby Gaines back in a crash had similar invisibility problems. When Police attended his druggy crashes and the judiciary dealt with him ineffectively on silly non representative charges, all too often prior to 'the biggy'.
'The toll will never drop until Police are willing to call a spade a spade and a drug driver has exactly that recorded on his charge sheet. All we're wanting is truth in charging' says Ford.
Recent cases Candor suspects Police mismanaged and will end very badly
Keiron Kelly in 2004 was found driving erratically and with drugs and a weapon in his car on the Kapiti coast. Suspected of driving drug impaired he ultimately only landed a weapon possession charge. Candor Trust are very interested as to why.
Zeke Lowe a man said in Court to have been 'under the influence' during most of his criminal offending was convicted of reckless driving on the 26 March 2005 and for dangerous driving on the 7 May 2005.
Candor Trust also questions just how thorough the investigation of Lowe can have been. Was he drug tested or examined by a Dr as the honorable Annette King says is procedure. If not why not? If so what tests and exams did he undergo and was the testing positive for use and / or impairment?
If so why was he not charged with DUI drugs, and was this due to legal difficulties? If legal difficulties affected the decision making process, what might the specific problems have been? And why are drug drivers given carte blanche - is this a Banana Republic?
Such questions need answering as regards many botched cases, say Candor.

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