News

Police revenue raising incentivised

A long-held suspicion of police revenue-raising by much of the public has been brought to the limelight, as it was revealed that South Australian Police (SAPOL) were encouraging an increase in speeding tickets.

It was recently brought to light that a ‘manager’ within SAPOL sent an email out to staff offering an incentive to the SA police officer who made the “greatest contribution to road safety by way of Traffic Infringement Notice Expiations or Cautions”.

Essentially, the manager in question had purchased gift cards and was offering these up to whichever SA Police officer was able to make the “greatest contribution to road safety by way of Traffic Infringement Notice Expiations or Cautions” through the number of traffic infringement notices and cautions issued.

SAPOL was quick to retract the email and release a statement advising the following. “SAPOL has no quotas for the issuing of expiation notices and never has.  The practise of offering incentives is not supported or condoned. Police officers dealing with breaches of the road rules have the discretion to determine the most appropriate action under the circumstances.  This may include the issue of an expiation notice or a formal caution (warning)”.

The statement went on to further detail that “The email instruction has been recalled and SAPOL staff have been advised that the advice in the email is not to be actioned and is contrary to SAPOL’s policy and practices.  The matter is subject to a formal review”. You can find the full statement from SAPOL here.

The statement released by SAPOL shortly after the email was leaked to the public.

The operation within which this incentive was offered aims to focus on distracted drivers by way of “Operation Fatal Distraction”. We have, however, received information from both South Australian residents and those visiting South Australia that you can, and will be fined for any speeding offences, with SAPOL fining motorists for being as little as 5 kilometres per hour over the limit in a 110km/h zone. We’re not entirely sure, but that certainly looks like Police revenue raising to us. Especially on those from interstate, who it would cost substantially more to return to SA to have the matter heard in court; it is simply easier to pay the fine, whether you agree or not.

Let us know in the comments below if you’ve had a run-in with the South Australian Police for minimal offences that would typically receive a caution for, or that borders on the margin of error for their detecting equipment.

69 Comments

Click here to post a comment

  • Have any of you had to deliver a death message after a fatal vehicle accodent? When you have, let me know how your ill informed opinions change.

  • Got a speeding fine on a lone stretch of Highway between Port Agosta and Hawker, slight down hill, long straight stretch. Have not seen a car for at least 15 minutes if not more, I was speeding, as I was trying to get as far as I could before sunset, but I was doing 122 (in 110) and that was the exact speed as I drive using GPS speed. Got a fine for going 10 over the limit, $400+. I was not happy, especially as all the way from Melbourne to Port Agosta I did not speed at all.

  • Yes My wife overtaking a motorbike cop on the Augusta highway tipped the double white lines with her front wheels in a overtaking lane on returning to the lane as he was only doing 95 km an hour in 110 and he finded her $468 and lost four points now that is revenue raising, there wasn’t a car in sight!!!!!!!!!!

  • As a pom living here for a good few years now the one thing I still find hard to grasp is the police/governments obsession with speed. Plenty of the roads here have limits way to low for the conditions and the over policing of the limits is astonishing. Anyone who believes creeping over the limit on empty country roads is dangerous is a fool. It’s simply to raise revenue. Drive in the UK and it’s easy to know the limit by the type of road you’re on. Almost any out of town road no matter how narrow, tight or windy is 100kph , any dual carriageway is 110kph . You’ll find most people exceeding those limits. You can pass the police at 20kph over the speed limit on the motorway and they won’t give you a second glance. Most of the traffic is doing between 85 to 100MPH . Speed in built up towns of city’s though and you’ll be caught. Englands roads are the safest in the world after Sweden. This kind of makes a mockery of the speed kills argument here. Poor driver education and training and lack of attention is the big problem but that doesn’t make the government money

  • I’m afraid SAPOL can publickly deny that as much as they like but we had a motor bike police officer living in our street some years ago and he said the very same thing to us. They were under pressure from the Govt to up their ticket revenue for their “quotas” and a friend new another officer desk bound in the city who would go out at lunchtime and ticket people for jaywalking to keep his quota up so they can deny it as much as they like but thats from those actually in the force. Correct also that if you are at 5km or more over the limit you are done as my son has just copped a fixed camera fine for that very thing. I thought there was a federal law of some sort that was to allow a 10 km leeway for speedo inaccuracy and tyre wear-seems that doesn’t apply any more either!

  • So if there is an increase in revenue, where is the money going?
    Most definitely not into fixing the roads, not the ones that matter anyway, the roads here in SA are more like goat tracks than roads.
    I personally believe we should be sending our state government the bill for any suspension repairs caused by driving on shonky roads!

  • If a driver speeds then he should be booked. Nothing wrong with incentivising any workforce to do a more effective job especially when lives are at stake. To all the “do gooders” sprouting freedom just rue the day if and when someone close to you is maimed or killed due to a negligent driver. The speed limit is just that, a limit, not a flexible limit.

  • Jeez reading all these comments gave me a headache. Obviously it’s quite clear we got 2 types of people here. One that would readily bend over when asked while the other would atleast put up a fight. Those who believe that everything our law makers put out is always correct and should be obey, please continue to bend over. However, please respectful of those who are fighting to protect our way of life, the life you also currently enjoyed without doing nothing. Attacking the Mag or it’s editors for publishing the truth is a no no. Let’s not forget. It’s our media that’s been keeping the bast*ards honest. We know that many cops are doing the right thing but as human beings, who wouldn’t want a bonus. By providing such incentive, it would easily influence an officers judgement.

    • My wife and I went on our Big Trip, starting from Taree NSW to Lightning Ridge, Walgett, Cobar, Broken Hill, Petersborough, Cooper Pedy, Alice Springs, Darwin, Broome, Kalbarri — it was here that we saw our first police car, I went and spoke to the Officers, that after 11, 834 klms, your the first police we’ve seen, they sat shaking their heads, Your kidding? Nope

  • I have been driving in SA for twenty years and not yet received one speeding ticket. Seems pretty simple to me, don’t speed and don’t get a ticket.

    As mentioned your speedometer is set with a built in tolerance, to protect the manufacturer, so if you don’t exceed the limit on your gauge you won’t get a ticket. By pushing the extra couple km/hr on the gauge to get to the true speed you are taking a calculated risk that you are responsible for.

    Take some responsibility for you own actions people.

    • Couldn’t agree more Alastair. Don’t speed and you don’t get a ticket, incentives or not. Pretty simple. I get cranky when people blame revenue raising as it just takes the focus off the fact that people are speeding putting others lives (and their own) lives at risk.

  • Yes I had a $500.00 fine for supposedly running a red light by a fraction of a second.
    I wrote to them to explained the precarious situation that I was in and they would not budge.

    I have my doubt if the time lag between green light and red light was adequate.

    I still feel that it was tempered with to catch as many innocent drivers.

    And to rub salt in the wound the fine was inflated as they included charge for victims of crime.

    All of a sudden we have become criminal.

    Needs investigation.

  • A couple of comments. Firstly the SAPOL Manager was trying to boost his résumé for future promotion by devious/illegal means and should be either sacked or at least demoted. The other point is that the issue of on the spot fines for genuine speeding offences is a better deterrent than receiving a fine in the mail some days to weeks after the speeding has taken place and basically not recalled by the driver.

  • Wtf does this article have to do with off-roading? Nothing but clickbait. Very disappointing MR4X4.com.au. U’ve lost me.

  • Get a quality Dashcam which records a Speed, GPS Location and Time Stamp on video. It should be a “Glue to the glass” mounting for low vibration and video clarity and a voice recorder as well. Make sure the window is down to record the conversation with the police officer. and if he requires you to stop your engine leave the key in and the Accessories running.
    Also watch out for the Distance/Time Speed Cameras on the Sunshine Coast Motorway north of Brisbane. If you slow for the camera but exceed the limit between and arrive too soon you will get a ticket.

  • The inclusion of “cautions” is important, but most notable is that no police can raise revenue, issue fines or cautions to drivers obeying the rules, law, conditions etc. The revenue raising is an incentive to keep you safe, a better incentive is that your and other road users get to go home alive and in one piece.

    • so you’re okay with anyone getting a fine for ‘breaking the law’? W.A. Police a few years ago, were booking motorists for doing 1k over the limit. 1 Kilometre per hour. your speedo isn’t that accurate, if your tyres aren’t exactly at the right pressure, even if your speedo was calibrated every other day would still be out. yet you seem to think that revenue raising and not pure road safety is the right way to go. the much loved adage from our Police that ‘speed kills’ is nothing but rubbish. true and every drag car driver would be dead, every supercar driver would be dead and as a retired rally driver and formula 5000 driver I’d be dead. it isn’t speed it’s inattention, inexperience and road conditions. none of which are addressed by governments or police.
      revenue raising has nothing to do with any form of safety and everything to do with money. police being handed incentives doesn’t help anyone, because the police become more interested in their ‘prizes’ than the job they’re employed to do. serve the public.

      • I agree with Vic. The police are no longer allowed to do the job that they were designed to do, solve and stop crime. Their only function now is to raise money for the government.

        • The killer on country roads in Australia is fatigue, not speed. 100 or 110 kph is mind-numbing over long distances. Where conditions allow, like dual carriageways and open highways in remote areas, increasing the limit to 130kph significantly reduces travel times for the same distances. Less time on the road means less fatigue. Less fatigue will translate to fewer accidents and fatalities.
          Trouble is, governments are addicted to the revenue.

    • Bigger dramas are caused as people try to get past/around those who refuse to do the correct speed limit. I understand some caravans/ trucks can’t or shouldn’t but those that can in new cars clearly capable of doing 200km/h but yet sit 10 -20km/h under the limit should be targeted for causing obstruction. I find this more dangerous than speed itself. And then maybe monitor overtaking lanes where these incompetent drivers seem to speed up as to not let you past then slow down when it goes back to normal road conditions causing a jam.

  • It’s no great mystery that the Victorian govt use the police force as revenue raising servants to the public as it’s been publicised many times that speeding fines and traffic infringements are up amongst the highest revenue sources only beaten by stamp duty and the gst . It’s only a matter of time before the smaller states cotton onto what the bigger states are doing

  • This is no surprise! More than 30 years ago I was in the Barossa Valley on a business trip slowly driving out Nuriootpa enjoying the already beautiful rural scenery with not a soul in sight when literally just 50m from the sign that said 100k (or definitely more than 60k), I was pulled over by the police. I assumed a breathalyser test was coming when he told me I had just been clocked driving at 64 k.p.h. My reaction was to laugh as I thought it must be joke, particularly as he spoke as if I was 30k over but the response of the policeman quickly made me realise this was no joke and before I knew it I had a fine in my hand. I did write a letter to the police that I’m sure had no effect at all, saying if this is how they treated visitors I would make sure everyone knew and I would not be back as a tourist. In fact I have not bothered going back since apart for work. So much of what goes under the banner of keeping us safe is so clearly planned for maximum revenue raising and not safety, occurs in every state not just SA.

  • I think that given “The speedo must not indicate a speed less than the vehicle’s true speed or a speed greater than the vehicle’s true speed by an amount more than 10 percent plus 4 km/h.” [https://www.racq.com.au/cars-and-driving/safety-on-the-road/driving-safely/speedo-accuracy] it is crazy that the speedos are allowed to be so far out so when I think I am doing 110 I can actually be doing as low as 96 /97 km/h. Different manufacturers vary as to how far out the speedo reads but if they were all as accurate as possible and were re adjusted when Tyers were replaced then we would have far safer roads because ppl would drive knowing what they are doing. But most ppl know their speedos are out and drive guessing (although reasonably accurately once you figure it out or use a gps speedo) what speed they are doing. Just a thought. This is why Terry Pavey, you are always being overtaken. It is likely you believe you are doing between 100-102 when in actual fact you could be driving as low as 88 km/h depending on vehicle make and model.

  • Pretty disappointed in this article regarding the SA police, to suggest the police are purely revenue raising is wrong given the following.
    The article mentions cautions been encouraged, this isn’t revenue raising.
    People can’t be booked for speeding unless they are actually speeding. Being fined for breaking the road rules is not revenue raising.
    Improving road safety by enforcing the current road rules is not revenue raising, who knows how many lives are saved by every speeding ticket or caution that are issued.

    Finally, it’s pretty disappointing that a magazine so dedicated to road users is having a go at the police. After all anything that can help to make your readers safer on the road should be a good thing.

    Cheers.

    Peter.

    • what planet are you living on, you sir are part of the problem ,,, this is how the Police treat all drivers (with utter contempt) the sapol statement is only a panicked reaction to being caught and blaming the senior officer as a scapegoat.

      • yes nick, I wonder what peter does for a job, there is a safety issue for sure but when governments change speed limits every few Ks it is impossible to really know what speed zone a person is in, I recently got caught by this the limit was reduced on a road I travel all the time which I did not realise. I was not speeding with the old limit but the new I was, as far as I am concerned all governments use motorists as a cash cow.

    • get your head out of the sand peter… tell me who determines if your speeding or not?..who makes speed limits?…revenue grabbing govs…because why does a speeding fine go to the gov..I think it should go to the local 000 guys…ambos/fire/hospital/ but nope..goes to the gov so they can spend it on themselves…
      I’d love to know the percentage of cars on the roads say in the 1970s or earlier when there were no speed limits to deaths on the roads to the percentage of cars on the roads today/deaths…

    • So hows the handing out of speeding tickets going for this years state road toll Peter. You know, be near double the fatalies that we had last year. A visible Police presence on roadways would be a more structured way of trying to prevent accidents, drivers being idiots and speeding etc. But that doesn’t add any MONEY to state govt coffers (as they budget for). I agree that speeding is offence and you should be punished. In saying that i also think under 5kms over the limit to be fined rather than cautioned is a blatant money grab. And hand help/fixed radars need more clarity on when and how they are calibrated. Having worked in the Defence Force where we utilised specialised calibration equipment i saw first hand the need to have these machines calibrated every three months and certified, as not to damage sensitive equipment. I’d be suprised if SAPOL had such a rigged planned maintenance schedule for there equipment, especially as it would be more prone to being knocked around, dropped or abused in field which can severely affect the equipments readouts etc.

    • years ago I was driving a semi-trailer through a little town in western Victoria at around 3 a.m. no other vehicles around and I was doing BELOW the limit (mainly because the CB radio users had aired a warning that the police were ‘on the prowl’). Next I know, blue light and pulled over. the cop told me I had been ‘clocked at 70kph in a 60k zone. I asked where he was and he told me ‘up a side street’ and the radar gun registered my speeding. even though I pointed out that guns don’t work like that he was adamant I was speeding and refused to withdraw the charge. I said that what I will do is fight the charge and then sue him. he got quite snooty but I told him the truck actually has a recording unit that logs speeds, engine revs, gear changes and times and I’ll produce it in court. his entire attitude changed, gave me a ‘warning not to speed again and to get the f**k out of ‘his’ town’. without the unit it would have been his would against mine and we all know how THAT would have ended.

      I have a few mates in the force and they tell me this;
      Police are taught; NEVER trust the public
      every member of the public is a liar and will try and con you and they were taught, It’s an Us and Them world. which is one of the reasons they’re dressed like SAS members on assignment in Afghanistan

  • The heading for this article gives the impression that SAPOL was behind the incentive, pure click bait. I won’t waste my time with mr4x4 any longer.

    • sapols statement is rubbish and blames scapegoat senior officer after they were caught out, and you believe them as your one of those who are part of the problem in Australia

    • ruby you are part of the problem if you believe that. The laws will be changed (and the old ones not repealed) so that everyone breaks the law.

      • You Sir are an idiot. I agree with Ruby. As an ex-Army Driving Instructor, we teach our guys drive to survive, I use my driving skills honed from the Army School of Transport and drove trucks for the next 35 yrs across four States and never been booked. I retired on a clean HC/5B licence, the last copper who pulled me over for speeding, said I was the first he has seen without so much as a parking fine on my licence, he then told me to slow down, I’d hate to spoil a perfect record, here’s your licence back

  • Lets be fair here. This was a senior manager who out of his or her own pocket, offered a gift card reward to the member of their team who recorded the highest number of Expiations during the period of a traffic operation targeting distraction offences. As is clearly reported, this is against official policy.

    Issuing Expiations is not the only duty performed by Police from day to day. Officers can be pro active looking for drug offences, shoplifters, car thieves. So we can reasonably speculate that this particular manager may have tried to focus the minds of his staff on the Operation by offering a small reward.
    It’s not a good look for the Police but the intention was well meant. Let’s not blow this out of context.

  • I see nothing wrong with being fined IF you’re driving over the speed limit. Speed limits are NOT a target or goal. The sooner drivers start travelling below and up to the 110kmh the better!

  • It’s still the simple fact of if your not breaking the law or speeding they can’t revenue raise. If speed limit is 110kms & you do 115kms then suck it up princesses your breaking the law for speeding.

    Ever though of it this way maybe the police have been “too” discretionary with letting people off with a warning & not fining them, so this was used to encourage them to fine instead.

    At the end of the day there is no excuse for speeding as millions of times I’ve had my cruise control set on 100-102 if it’s a 100km speed limit & many people wiz by or if it’s 110km speed limit my cruise control is set at 110-112 & have many wiz by again, even myself is doing the wrong thing by being barely over but those that fly by & all other that go way over speed limits SUCK IT UP PRINCESSES YOU BROKE THE LAW PAY UP SHUT UP.

    • Not unusual for speedos to be out by 8 to 10km/h so whie you cruise along at 90 to 95, others are just sailing by at the speed limit – or perhaps 102.

    • speed limits are constantly changed in eastern suburbs and that is down, there is way to be really sure what speed is right, motorists are cash cows and nothing more, is somebody doing a few Ks over the limit really driving dangerously considering speed limits are far below what they used to be, I think not, but on saying that somebody doing 20+ is driving dangerously but there are many times during any drive a person is a little over.

  • I was born and raised in Adelaide in the early 1960’s. South Australia has always been known as a Police state. After getting my drivers licsense at the age of 16 i was always picked on by police whether i was driving a car or riding a motorcycle. I would be pulled over for no reason but i was always sent on my way with a ticket. Either way i was contributing heavily to South Australians state revenue department in the way of paying fines. After 7 years of being near broke i had the opportunity to move to Queensland. Since arriving in Queensland at the age 22 i have not received a single fine or infringement notice and have only ever been stopped by Police in this state for normal random breath testing and vehicle checks. I am now 56 years old. This means 34 years without a fine in Queensland. I have not even returned to South Australia even for a visit.

    • Never broke the law in SA at all Terry. Like i said in my comment. I was always pulled over for no reason. If i had broken the law i would not have posted the comment and sucked it up as you would say. One needs to read the full comment before opening a big mouth. There are two words i have for you Terry. First word involves sex. Second word involves travel.

    • I hope your good run continues. QLD police are not so squeaky clean though. I recall a “current affair” type program, which may not be the same as the progam by that same name. They reported on the corruption in the Gold Coast country area. But one thing is very likely to be true. If we only hear of a few or several, they will be just the tip.

  • I’ve been pulled over a few times by SAPOL and they’ve been pretty descent. I don’t see any problem. I have full confidence in the Australian Police overall to act ethically. I also generally think the speed limits are too low on many roads down here. Traffic will become a nightmare as the population grows over the next 20 years. Plenty of problems with SA, but this bad judgment against Police policy doesn’t seem to be an issue.

  • Scott Taylor, do you not see the corruption that takes place when bonuses are paid! This is not a business it’s law enforcement and as such should be not be associated with any financial reward. Once $$$$ are put on the table the ‘discretion’ would become even less forthcoming.

  • Just like any other jib, if you do it well then you get a bonus. I assume they are not just fining people not committing offences, so what is the problem??

    • Scott, I have been fined and lost my licence for offences I DID NOT commit. I have also been given cautions for minor offences I did commit. I think like most things it depends on who pulls you over. However, for SAPOL to claim there is no quota is not true, the last caution I got was from an officer who told me straight out that he needed either a caution or an infringement to meet the number “EXPECTED” of him that week. Strickly speaking that is not a quota, its a “performance review” but in reality, that is a matter of pure symantics.

      • This mag has lost the plot and is becoming “sensationalist”.
        Do the crime do the time and take responsibility for your actions.
        Like the excuse given in recent article regards running into the back with the rebuilt rig, when you run into the back of someone it is 99.9% your fault because you were travelling too close or not paying attention to what is happening in front.
        Time for me to go and just enjoy the other relevant sites that actually cater the 4×4 community. Bye Bye!

      • And that shouldn’t be. When on duty, they should be impartial to the extreme, and apply the adage, “when in doubt, err on the side of leniency” with a respectful caution. Wouldn’t that be nice.

Get the latest 4X4 updates

Download Our Apps