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Police shortage leads to drop in checkpoints

Tuesday 9 April 2024 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Crime, National

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Police shortage leads  to drop in checkpoints
More resources need to be injected into the police force so they can step up on their presence on the road, says Police spokesperson Trevor Pitt. POLICE MEDIA/ 23122243

Cook Islands Police say a staff shortage has led to a decrease in traffic checkpoints on Rarotonga.

The traffic team is currently undergoing reorganisation, says Police spokesperson Trevor Pitt.

He says more resources need to be injected into the police force so they can step up on their presence on the road.

Pitt made these comments after concerns were raised on the need to have checkpoints around the island during early hours of Sunday morning or after clubbing hours.

Cook Islands Road Safety Council president Brent Fisher said there were a concerning number of drunk drivers on the roads by early Saturday and Sunday morning.

Fisher said the police traffic unit needed to reinforce its checkpoints, not just in the town area but around Rarotonga.

“They need to be proactive, not be active when there is an accident.”

Fisher encouraged police to get out into the public and increase their presence.

Pitt says there will likely to be an enforcement drive soon, particularly as they have entered a new licence year and owners should’ve renewed their annual registrations.  

“We have had an increase in dangerous or careless driving complaints. This includes stunting and speeding,” Pitt said.

“These reckless individuals will be prosecuted if caught but Police are relying on good witness information since officers have been mobilised elsewhere.”

Commenting on the need for improved driving habits and behaviour, Pitt says this is a concern focused primarily on residents.

He said incidents involving tourists were a minority among those reported to Police.  

“As I have mentioned before, the driving culture here is poor, sub-standard. The attitude is far too casual,” Pitt said.

“The drinking and driving are far too prevalent. Even with an appalling fatality average, road crashes are far too common.  

“There has to be a generational change or more resources injected into the Police to step up the presence on the road and penalise offenders.”