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Issue No. 410 February 2017

Teamwork puts brakes on biker

One of the 17 activation photos.

A speeding motorcyclist who activated the same safety camera at least 17 times was slowed down by good teamwork by the Police Infringement Bureau (PIB), Road Policing and Intel staff.

The biker was always heading toward Lower Hutt on Wainuiomata Hill Road, usually in the morning and usually at least 50kph over the 80kph limit. However, the photos did not capture the registration plate.

Acting Sergeant Laurence Vautier, of Wellington Road Policing, was contacted by the Calibration Unit in August when it was noticed one motorcycle had activated the camera ten times.

Initial inquiries failed to identify the bike. Laurence consulted Sergeant Barney Soutar, Adjudication Team Leader in PIB, who called in Verification Team Leader – and keen biker - Shaun Benson.

Shaun identified the bike as a Kawasaki ZXR10 and began looking for it while reviewing photos each day. More activations came to light.

Laurence asked Intel to run the make and model through NIA – and just one was found to be registered in Wainuiomata.

After further inquiries, on 19 October Laurence waited from 4.30am in an unmarked car outside the registered owner’s home. After about 20 minutes the man emerged.

Shaun Benson and Acting Sergeant Laurence Vautier.

Laurence followed and recorded the bike going more than twice the speed limit on the hill. He pulled it over when it returned to a safer speed.

In interview, faced with photos from 17 camera activations, the rider admitted the offending. He came to court last month.

“Because we all worked really well together we could hold the guy accountable,” says Laurence.

“It sends the message that you might think you can get away with it - but even when you can’t see the plates there are ways to identify people.”

Shaun says it was an unusual case. “We don’t usually get people consistently drawing attention to themselves in one place,” he says.

“It was great teamwork and a great example of PIB supporting the front line.”

The offender was discharged without conviction after defence counsel argued disqualification would have been disproportionate and cost him his truck-driving job.

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