Police caught on camera running red lights, speeding for no reason
ALMOST 200 Queensland police officers have been caught treating the road rules with contempt speeding and running red lights without a legitimate reason.
Figures obtained by The Courier-Mail under Right to Information laws show 653 police were snapped by speed and red-light cameras in 2008-09. Of those, almost a third were made to pay the fines themselves after internal investigations found they could not justify their behaviour. Decisions are pending in another 23 matters.
In 20 cases where police were held responsible for their offences, they were travelling at more than 20km/h above the speed limit or running red lights. And, in one instance, police were forced to pay the corporate penalty for speeding when they could not identify the driver of the police vehicle caught on camera.
Speeding is one of the biggest killers on Queensland roads and was last year considered a factor in almost a quarter of the 331 deaths.
A Queensland Police Service spokeswoman said public safety was one of the service's key priorities. "Every time a police car is issued with an infringement notice the full circumstances are investigated and overseen by officers at regional and state level to determine if the driver was operating lawfully," the spokeswoman said.
Under section 144 of the Transport Operations Act, police are exempt from some road rules when responding to a car crash, a disturbance or police in need of assistance and during pursuits and ambulance escorts. "If the driver cannot prove they were acting lawfully under the act, the infringement is enforced," the spokeswoman said.
During 2008-09, the QPS had 2259 vehicles on the road which travelled 78 million kilometres, she said. "In that time there were 192 traffic infringements enforced. This is a very low rate of speeding infringements by any measure." [i.e. most of them got away with it]