Speeding caution defended by police
The Great Southern’s top cop has defended the decision of officers who chose not to infringe a speed camera operator clocked at what is believed to be more than 30km/h over the speed limit during a double-demerit period.
The speeding incident on Albany Highway over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend in September has been the subject of an internal investigation by Great Southern Police.
Great Southern Police confirmed this week two officers from an undisclosed station in the district used discretion to issue the camera operator, a member of WA Police, with the caution.
The Albany Advertiser understands the speed detected fell between the 29km/h and 40km/h bracket over the speed limit, which should have attracted a loss of six demerit points and an $800 fine. However, since the incident occurred during a double-demerit period, the driver’s licence would have been instantly disqualified, with 12 demerit points given, if handed an infringement.
The speed was detected in a roadworks area north of Kojonup where the temporary posted speed limit had fluctuated, according to police.
Great Southern Police Superintendent Dom Wood yesterday defended the officers’ discretion, confirming the driver was detected at 111km/h and said he “believed” the temporary posted speed limit was 80km/h.
Supt Wood said he was satisfied with the use of discretion and it was “legitimate, proportionate and reasonable under all circumstances and was not a safety issue”.
The incident occurred while police were instructed by the WA Police Union to use discretion to issue cautions for minor offences as part of industrial action.
Supt Wood said other drivers had been cautioned on the same stretch of highway.
“The officers made the decision in this case based on the driver’s explanation and having re-driven the direction this driver came from,” he said.
“There has clearly been some confusion of speed limits on this stretch and our advice is if in doubt of speed limit, drive to what you believe is the lower level, to avoid being pulled over by police.”
“We patrol actively to keep people safe and can use discretion under certain circumstances.
“I am satisfied with the officers’ explanation for use of this discretion.”
On the same weekend, Great Southern Police posted on social media a motorist had lost their licence for speeding despite the presence of an illuminated sign advising motorists to reduce speed. “We saw the sign unlike the motorist who received an $800 and 12 demerit point infringement in an 80 kph zone,” the post read.
Another driver lost their licence for speeding in a “work zone’ near Katanning on the same weekend.
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