Friday, June 04, 2010

How stupid do they think we are?

Anyone watching Campbell Live last night would have been treated to the police reassuring us that their decision to impose a 'no tolerance' approach to speeding over the Queen's Birthday weekend is all and only about road safety. Campbell ran a simultaneous poll asking the audience whether they thought it was for safety or revenue gathering.

Revenue gathering attracted an 81 percent response.

4 in 5 people listening didn't believe the talking head.

Police have already imposed a 'no tolerance' approach around schools. Yesterday I heard a number of people calling talkback who had received recent speed camera tickets for going 53 - 54 kmph in a 50 km zone. Two were in school vicinity BUT outside term time. One arrived in my letterbox last week for going 56kmph in Days Bay. The notice described the location as near Wellesley College. But the photo was taken at 9.45am and anyone that knows Days Bay knows the school is set a long way back from the road with the sea on the other side. It is unusual for the pupils to be anywhere near where the camera operates, especially in class time. Now I wouldn't be opposed to speed limits being lowered around schools during periods of activity and by all means police it (as well as the drivers of 4WDs that double park to pick up precious in the rain insanely blocking the movement and vision of other motorists and children). But the speed camera operators are exploiting the 'no tolerance' around schools simply to ping more people and gather more revenue.

And when they try to tell us they are not, we get a little bit madder.

There is a location at the western end of the Petone Esplanade where routinely, on Sunday mornings, a bunch of cops hide behind a building, jump out with their radar and then slightly further along, haul in offenders, speed criminals. Grey-haired Sunday drivers who thought they were in a 70 kmph zone, being industrial, when in fact it is a 50 kmph zone. More than a few hefty fines will have been gathered from that little goldmine.

Yesterday I was up flying. It is very easy to become over-fixated on instruments when performing particular manoeuvres and watching height, airspeed, angle of bank and balance, all of which are meant to stay at prescribed values. The trick is to get these right as well as maintaining ongoing visual and aural vigilance. Drivers obsessing about whether their speedometers are reading 100 or less (or to allow for any inaccurate calibration, 95 or less) have their heads inside the car and not outside. And it wouldn't surprise me if psychologically they are in a worse frame of mind for driving than when the 'no tolerance' isn't being preached at them.

But back to the police and their constant road safety refrain.It reminds me of a piece I was reading earlier this morning about how language is used to achieve certain ends. And so it is with the police, telling us that their actions are all about saving lives. Yet most of us are sitting there saying, How bloody stupid do you think we are?

It is not a state of affairs conducive to achieving anything positive.


Manolo said...

Nothing but the NZ Police passing the collection plate. This is a blatant exercise in revenue gathering.

Shame on the cops for attempting this, and also on the minister of Polcie for letting then get away with it.

Howard Broad should be sacked.

Murray said...

Socilaism in a uniform... doesn't that have a special name all of its own?

Shane Pleasance said...

As a cobber of mine said a while ago, time will come when we see a copper getting the crap kicked out of them, and we will just walk on by.


Shane Pleasance said...

I am developing a 'zero tolerance' to government intervention in my life.

baxter. said...

I'm surprised that 19% thought it wasn't revenue gathering...Why don't they have a blitz on unattended Child Abuse cases instead.

Anonymous said...

Wait till they have radar cops hiding behind every cloud.

Perhaps this is this what they mean by "Every cloud has a silver lining"


Anonymous said...

At least it's a form of revenue gathering that you can legally avoid paying.

Anonymous said...

They know most of us ARE stupid.

pdm said...

I got caught in a trap on Karamu Road Hastings a few years ago.

I was travelling out of Hastings and had gone past the fixed camera in the 50k area. I was snapped by Galway Place at about 63k and that is about 100m from the start of the 70k zone. The time was about 2pm and there are 8 houses on one side of the roard between Galway Place and the 70k signs and there are orchards on the other side of the road - the nearest school is at least a kilometre away down a side street.

That is entrapment and while I disputed it I did not get off.

John Ansell said...

I'm afraid I just can't agree with you on this one Lindsay.

I'm highly likely to be pinged, being notoriously absent-minded about speed limits, so from that point of view I'm not looking forward to this new policing.

But the figures are pretty clear: 1 Queens Birthday Weekend road death - the lowest in 50 years.

That must be tremendously satisfying to cops who would otherwise be breaking the news to bereaved families and scraping body parts off bloodstained roads.

Upholding set limits is not nanny state. It's the role of the state to keep citizens safe.

(Where I'd draw the line however is the street in Birkenhead with about nine speed humps in 100 metres - that's excessive.)

But if driving to 100 slashes the road toll, I say let's do it.

And Manolo, I'd have sacked Howard Broad long ago for his partisan inquiries for Labour, but not this.

brian_smaller said...

Revenue gathering. On Monday evening driving down from Wangas to Wellington I saw cop ahead waving his light and pulled over as did the guy behind me - thought it was a checkpoint. Turned out I blew a headlamp bulb (low beam) somewhere between Wanganui and Waikanae. The very rude cop wrote me an infringment notice for $150 for the light being out. The guy behind me got done for following me too closely. There was no way he was too close. Pricks. No wonder people don't like the police. Meanwhile, I gave the cops the name and address of the scumbag who stole the hot water cylinder out of a property I own and they have done nothing.