Photo: National manager of road policing, superintendent Steve Greally (left) and police CVIU Area 2 manager, senior sergeant Lex Soepnel.
The police are reviewing the operation of the CVIU in order to meet budget requirements. Although the consultation document is not widely available, the Road Transport Forum is preparing a comprehensive response on behalf of the road transport sector. Their response will be circulated to members.
The police provided the following statement following an enquiry from New Zealand Trucking magazine:
The reallocation of 111 road policing staff was first signalled back in May 2016, following confirmation of a $960 million road policing budget.
As part of that process, road policing positions are being reallocated into other areas of police to focus on a broader range of activities, though reallocated staff will still be involved in policing the roads where appropriate.
National manager of road policing, superintendent Steve Greally, says this includes a current proposal to disestablish 26 authorised officer’s positions from the Commercial Vehicle Investigation Unit. These authorised staff work as vehicle safety officers, and have a more limited range of powers than police officers.
Police are currently consulting with affected staff on the proposal, and no decisions have been made. Road safety partner agencies and representatives from the heavy vehicle industry are also being formally consulted.
“We are committed to a fair consultation process with our staff, and stress that no decisions will be made until all submissions have been considered,” Greally says.
“We acknowledge the consultation process is unsettling for some staff, and so we are working directly with them, our HR team, welfare support and the Police Association as appropriate to ensure that a fair and transparent process is followed.
“However, until all staff have had the chance to provide feedback on the proposal, it wouldn’t be fair to comment further publicly at this stage.”
Road Transport Forum CEO Ken Shirley says their submission will focus on the imperative of sustained effective policing of HMVs from both a road safety and commercial neutrality perspective.
“This latter key role appears to be overlooked in the discussion document. In the fiercely competitive and highly regulated environment of commercial road transport, it is essential for the regulator and enforcer to provide a commercially neutral framework.
“If operators can speed, overload, breach the work-time rule or operate non-compliant equipment with impunity, then they can compete unfairly for business with the effect of driving down freight rates below sustainable levels. In essence, the compliant subsidise the non-compliant and lose business to them.
“Such a scenario very quickly destroys the integrity of the regulatory process while endangering lives and exerting adverse impacts on the roading infrastructure. This is why effective and visible road policing of commercial vehicles is essential to our industry.”
The forum is concerned with the inherent negativity raised by the new name proposed in the document, which is the ‘Commercial Vehicle Prevention Team’ (CVPT).
“For obvious reasons this proposed name is totally unsuitable and we propose ‘Commercial Vehicle Policing Team’,” Shirley says.