New Zealand Herald - by Hamish McNeilly
Speeding police clocked up a 64 per cent increase in speed camera notices last year compared with the previous five years, it has been revealed.
Figures released under the Official Information Act show police were issued with 941 speed camera notices last year.
Of those offences, police paid 480 fines, 460 were waived and one ticket was dismissed by an Auckland court.
Wellington police officers led the way last year, paying for 60 speed camera offences, followed by Counties Manukau (58) and Waitemata (50).
Police officers in the Southern District paid for 38 offences - higher than other South Island districts; Tasman (26) and Canterbury (29).
Between 2005 and 2009 police recorded 2874 speed camera offences, with 1251 fines paid and 1623 waived.
Road policing national manager Superintendent Paula Rose said the number of speed camera notices issued to police had increased 64 per cent when compared with the average over the previous five-year period.
"This bears some relationship to the almost 100 per cent increase in the number of speed camera notices issued nationwide in 2010."
Last year the public recorded 628,000 infringements, nearly twice as many as the previous year.
Rose said those increases could be attributed to a lower speed tolerance over holiday periods and more effective deployment of digital speed cameras to address road safety risks.
She said speed was the most important determinant of road safety. Over the past decade there had been a drop in the mean speeds and the percentage of drivers exceeding the speed limit, and that had resulted in fewer fatal and serious injury crashes.
"Police are committed to maintaining and improving that trend."
There were provisions under the Land Transport (Road User) Rule (2004), for the drivers of emergency vehicles and enforcement officers to carry out urgent duties.
Defence for police included when "engaged on urgent duty and compliance with the speed limit would be likely to prevent the execution of the officer's duty".
That defence was not likely to extend to any dangerous or reckless driving, she said.
"Police officers are required to provide an explanation for speed offences and are held accountable for any breaches of speed-related legislation for which there is no justification or legal defence."