New Plymouth police have been rapped over the knuckles by national headquarters for taking a hospitable approach to those asking for a breath test.
It was reported earlier this month that people often entered the station asking to be tested. Officers, if not too busy, were happy to oblige.
A very sensible approach, helping ensure people don’t break the law.
However, New Plymouth police have now been told their approach does not line up with national policy – and that they should stop immediately.
“While these staff have acted in good faith and with the best of intentions, there is a risk if for example someone initially passes a test, then drives and is found later to be over the limit, or is involved in a crash, which could have tragic consequences,” Central Districts Acting District Commander Inspector Mark Harrison said.
So the Police would rather cover their arse, than help people not break the law.
Harrison said the best advice to those out socialising was “to make the choice whether to drink or drive – not both.”
That is not what the law says. Who appointed them moral guardians?
Sergeant Bruce Irvine said at the time that those with any level of alcohol on their breath were advised not to drive because test results could change within minutes.
“We will always say this is here and now; if in 30 minutes you go and drive it could be different,” he said. “It’s not a get-out-of-jail free card. We advise unless you’re breathing zero it’s not worth taking the risk.”
Senior Sergeant Robbie O’Keefe said at the time that people who came in were often unsure if they were over or under and wanted to do the right thing.
If a test deterred them from driving it was a good thing, he said.
The local Police were acting very sensibly – testing those who wanted it, but warning them they should not drive anyway. A pity the Police hierarchy would rather people get arrested after the fact, than make it easy for people to make an informed decision about whether it is safe to legally drive.
Tags: drink driving, Police