Ministry proposes amending law on traffic offences

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu ,

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LAW TO CHANGE: Traffic Police officer could collect fines if law changes. Photo: Misiona Simo.

LAW TO CHANGE: Traffic Police officer could collect fines if law changes. Photo: Misiona Simo.

The Ministry of Police is seeking to change relevant laws to enable police officers to issue traffic infringement tickets and collect the fines from motorists.  

Currently under the Road Traffic Payment of Fines Act 2009, the police issue a citation to the driver and the Land Transport Authority (L.T.A.) collects the fine. 

The proposed change by the Ministry of Police was revealed in the Government’s response to the Parliament’s Finance and Expenditure Committee’s Report, for the Financial Years 2015-2016.

The Parliamentary Committee recommended that the Ministry of Police proceed with the proposed amendments, with a particular emphasis on the provisions relating to the duties of traffic officers. The proposed amendments should align with provisions of other laws such as the Land Transport Authority Act, which sets out the roles and duties of traffic officers and police traffic officers under the supervision of the Police Commissioner. 

In response to the recommendations from the Parliamentary Committee, the Ministry of Police stated that it is working with the Attorney General’s Office to effect the changes in relevant laws. The Ministry of Police will also ask the Attorney General’s Office to clarify overlapping mandates and roles of Police and the L.T.A. relating traffic law enforcement. 

“This matter is currently at the Ministerial level for further discussion and directive. We also note Section 17 of the Land Transport Authority Act 2007 that implies supervision of the Police Commissioner over police officers that the Land Transport Authority requests assistance from. 

“Police officers to assist. A police officer shall, subject to the directions of the Commissioner of Police, aid and assist the Authority in the performance of its functions and the exercise of its powers under this Act when requested to do so by an employee of the Authority,” stated the report. 

Last year the Minister responsible for the L.T.A., Papali’I Niko Lee Hang, pointed to what he said was a lack of cohesion between police Traffic officers and the L.T.A. traffic officers.

 “In conducting their duty in monitoring minor traffic offenses where the instant fines citations are issued, it’s clear under the law for L.T.A. that they collect revenues from the fines, not the Police. The police are supposed to issue citations but the fines collected goes to the L.T.A.,” said the Minister.

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