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Open to Criticism

Entry 1693, on 2015-01-04 at 15:10:49 (Rating 4, News)

Everyone should be open to accepting criticism and fairly examining their ideas and policies, especially those who have the most power and the greatest ability to force their ideas on others. Obvious examples of this would be politicians, senior management in businesses, and police. Unfortunately these are the exact groups who often seem to be immune to criticism. Or maybe I should say they are criticised plenty but take no notice, most likely simply because of an arrogant and overinflated sense of their own importance.

Right, with that little rant (I might as well get 2015 off to a good start) out of the way, what exactly am I talking about? In this case the New Zealand police who seem to be getting increasingly out of control with each passing year. I know that our police are still a lot better than most others, but they are still pretty bad!

To be more specific still, this post relates to the result of the police's latest holiday period anti-speeding campaign where they said they would ticket anyone doing just 4 kilometers per hour (2.5 mph) [correction: that was last year, this year it was zero tolerance] over the speed limit. I'm not sure how rigorously they pursued that (I drove at well over the speed limit at all times but was never caught) but whatever they did, it didn't work because our holiday road toll is over twice what it was last year when a greater margin was allowed.

Of course, police became all defensive and criticised their critics for using a "tragic" situation for political purposes. Well, you know, this is a political issue and surely tragedies should be paid attention to. Surely the police can admit this just hasn't worked and maybe they should look at other options.

I personally think it's the same lazy, ignorant thinking I see from many people in positions of authority. They can't be bothered (or don't have the ability or intelligence) to figure out the real problems and solve them, so they apply an easy to manage, simplistic approach which affects the innocent more than the guilty and often doesn't achieve what it was supposed to anyway.

When there is a low road toll the police are the first to congratulate themselves but when there is a higher one, like this year, suddenly it's not their fault. Well they can't have it both ways. Maybe the police commissioner should accept that the extra people who have died this year are because of his incompetence and offer his resignation now.

I'm not totally serious about that last suggestion - if only because he would just be replaced with some other bureaucrat equally bereft of original ideas anyway - but also because he's not really to blame. Traffic deaths fluctuate over time due to simple statistical phenomena and other uncontrollable reasons. A good or bad result has probably very little to do with what the police are doing and is more to do with weather, public attitudes, the safety of modern cars, better roads, and many other factors.

But the police should acknowledge this and just admit that their silly zero tolerance nonsense should stop immediately. And no, that's not just because I like to travel a bit faster than the speed limit, it's because it's the correct and honest thing to do.

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Comment 1 (4250) by Rick Harvey on 2015-01-04 at 17:42:36:

Hi Owen.
I believe last years tolerance was 4%.
as in 104k at open road speed and 52k in town.
This year, I thought they refined the tolerance to just 1km over anywhere.

Of course, anybody with a clue knows full well this sill not affect the road toll in any way; except that now, nobody is looking where they are going, but at their speedos or GPS instead.

In the opinion of myself, and certain decent ex-policemen, and probably yourself also, the main cause of open road crashes is fatigue - nodding off, and usually on straight bits of road.

Sure, you still have the occasional dickhead in a powerful car he does not know how to control, but those are only a handful, not hundreds.

Sadly, an increasing and already quite large number of open road head-ons are caused by suicide, especially into the fronts of trucks.
One of our Timaru transport companies had 3 in 2 weeks; and my very own workers had one as well, last year.

No, the coppers are targeting the wrong people to reduce the road toll, but the right people to gather hard-earned cash.

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Comment 2 (4251) by OJB on 2015-01-04 at 21:39:38:

Oh really? If that's the case then it is even worse! 4% is stupid, 1 kph over the limit is both stupid and corrupt. With these morons (I mean police management) in charge no wonder we have a high road toll! I wonder how the actual cops feel about it? I wouldn't have thought this is what they would have signed up for.

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Comment 3 (4256) by OJB on 2015-01-13 at 17:12:56:

Apparently there has been some confusion about this. According to my latest information there was still a 4 kph tolerance (on open road 100 kph areas) but zero tolerance in exceeding this. Stupid. Zero tolerance is always stupid!

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Comment 4 (4259) by OJB on 2015-01-16 at 09:55:06:

Having now listened to more on this subject I now think that nobody knows what the rules really were, including the cops. Wow, what a bunch of clowns!

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