Police target speed

Drivers have been doing more than 140 kilometres an hour through the Rai Valley, in Marlborough, and police plan to target the state highway from there to Okaramio during the next six months.

Marlborough highway patrol head Sergeant Barrie Greenall said yesterday that drivers had not taken enough notice of patrols so police needed to "use some tactics that we don't always use".

This was not a revenue-gathering exercise, he said. It was aimed purely at getting people to reduce their speeds.

"The nature of the speed increases on that road are so excessive," Mr Greenall said.

"Patrolling hasn't allayed that in any way, shape or form. This isn't revenue-gathering, we just want people to drop their speeds."

Drivers had been clocked travelling at 140km and higher on State Highway 6 between Blenheim and Nelson, and particularly through the Rai Valley section west of Havelock.

More police had been on patrol in the area but that had not stopped the speeding, he said.

"We are changing tack."

As well as highly visible patrols along the stretch of road, Mr Greenall said there would also be some "covert speed detection work".

"We're using tactics that we don't always use," he said.

"I don't want to divulge much, but it's fair to say you won't see our presence or any sign of our presence. You will either get contact through the mail, or be stopped some distance later down the road and receive the ticket there."

The roads were getting busier, there were more tourists on the road, the hazards were increasing, and drivers needed to think about what they were doing, he said.

"When things go wrong at that speed, they go wrong in a bad way.

"We're asking people to obey the road laws, then they won't have any contact with us."

In a statement from police yesterday, Nelson Bays highway patrol manager Sergeant Terry Richards also issued a warning about the six-month operation starting this weekend on the stretch of highway from Rai Valley to Okaramio, near Renwick.

It was not uncommon for drivers to be detected doing more than 130kmh and during the past few weeks two drivers had been clocked at more than 140kmh, he said.

From tomorrow until the end of May, patrols would be highly visible in the area, along with covert speed detection on some days.

Police wanted people to know they were targeting the area so they got the message to slow down, Mr Richards said.

"Cleaning up after high speed crashes is not an enjoyable part of my job. We just want people to slow down, stay within the speed limits and drive to the conditions. If they don't, there will be a price to pay."

The Marlborough Express