Police error tickets more than 20,000

LIAM HYSLOP AND STACEY KIRK
Last updated 14:22 18/02/2014

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Tens of thousands of people have been wrongly ticketed for traffic offences by police, who are apologising for a "temporary" error.


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Between October 22 and December 16 last year a fault in the police computer system resulted in more than 20,000 people being accidentally ticketed.

That figure was originally thought to be 38,000 but a separate mistake by police collating the data meant it was later revised to 20,000.

The problem arose when vehicle transaction data from the NZ Transport Agency was not automatically updated on police systems because of an isolated fault.

Among those people negatively affected were those who sold their vehicles, who were then incorrectly ticketed for offences incurred by the new owners or others driving the vehicles.

Also affected were those who changed their address or their surname after getting married during the two months.

The affected traffic notices included mainly speed camera infringements, and a smaller number of other camera-related notices, including red-light camera offences and police-issued parking notices.

Although the total number of incorrectly issued notices was unknown, the individual amounts involved could potentially range from $30 to $630.

Council-issued parking notices were not affected.

Police Minister Anne Tolley said the errors was disappointing.

"But I'm very pleased that they've fronted up and admitted what's happened, apologised to people and we've put something in place to correct it."

National road policing manager Superintendent Carey Griffiths apologised to all those who were incorrectly ticketed.

Anyone who had been ticketed as a result of the mistake would not have to pay the fine. Anyone who had already paid the fine would be refunded, Griffiths said.

Police were in the process of transferring the tickets to the people responsible for them, he said.

Police became aware of the issue when a member of the public contacted the Police Infringement Bureau (PIB) about a notice received for a vehicle she no longer owned, Griffiths said.

Higher demand during the busy holiday period meant people attempting to contact the PIB about the problem via phone had experienced delays, he said.

"We apologise to those people who experienced delays in trying to get through to us to report the problem, which understandably caused additional frustration."

The scale of the problem became clear this week as a result of ongoing investigations, Griffiths said.

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"Once the problem was brought to our attention, police took action to investigate and ensure it was fixed.

"We have also put a number of steps in place to ensure it does not happen again."

Police recommended anyone affected should go through the website to lodge their complaints.

- Stuff

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