The Herald reports:
Police officers are being told not to ticket unlicensed Maori drivers caught behind the wheel.
The Counties Manukau Police guidelines are detailed in a policy, leaked to TVNZ last night.
It states police should refer Maori drivers for training if they are pulled over without a licence or in breach of their conditions instead of fines.
Superintendent John Tims told NewstalkZB this morning the document should have been worded better.
Everyone was entitled to the compliance, not just Maori drivers, he said.
“[The document] is probably not worded as well as it can be.
“There’s two parts to this: the compliance is for everyone, including Maori, and it is about making sure there’s less deaths on the road, less crashes,” Mr Tims said.
Maori drivers were “considered” when they were pulled over by police, he said, but were included in the policy simply as part of the Turning the Tide national policy.
PassRite Driving Academy founder Fred Bardon said it was a great way of getting people licensed to drive – but only if it applied it all drivers.
Maori should not be the only targeted group “…because there are other offenders that are doing the same thing and we need to be across the board so that everybody gets the same opportunity”, he told NewstalkZB.
A policy of referral for training rather than prosecution is fine, so long as it applies to all.
The Police say the document was simply not worded well.
It would be interesting to seek stats, if they exist, on how many drivers of each ethnicity have been referred for training for unlicensed driving, rather than prosecuted.
UPDATE: A reader sends in this satire:
HOT OFF THE PRESS FROM POLICE HQ
Counties-Manukau Police have today announced an extension to their successful policy of not enforcing the law for ethnicities that are over-represented in crime statistics.
“Our exclusion from enforcing the drivers license law with respect to Maori has been a roaring success. We now don’t ticket any Maori, or person claiming to be Maori. This has made a massive positive impact on our recorded statistics.
“The fact that prevalence of Maori driving without a license has skyrocketed as a result of this policy, should not be seen as a negative outcome. This is about “Turning the tide”.
“We have decided to extend the policy to the crime of aggravated robbery, an offence for which Maori are even more over-represented than drivers’ license offences.
“Now, when we receive a report or complaint of an aggravated robbery, we will ask the caller or complainant “Does one or more offenders appear to be Maori?” If the answer is yes, we will not attend the incident or follow up the complaint, unless the Maori offender/s do not return the money they have stolen within two months.
“We expect this new policy to be an incredible success, with the number of arrests of Maori on suspicion of committing aggravated robbery expected to plummet.
“While we expect aggravated robberies by Maori and others pretending to be Maori, to skyrocket, we ask the public to consider the benefits of “Turning the Tide”.”
Please direct any media enquiries to our policy advisor, Hone Harawira.