7 Aug 2009

Police Minister dismisses warnings over car-crushing bill

5:41 am on 7 August 2009

The Police Minister says calls for tougher action on some first-time driving offences need to be weighed against the sanctions courts will impose.

The Police Association told a parliamentary select committee on Thursday that a bill allowing for the cars of repeat racing offenders to be crushed will encourage them to flee police. It says tougher rules are needed for impounding vehicles and suspending licenses.

Police Association president Greg O'Connor says the biggest issue with those who race cars is their failure to stop for police. He says boy racers try to out-run police, with the expectation officers will eventually have to give up the chase, and that is when death and serious injury happens.

The association wants first-time offenders to have their cars impounded and licences suspended. And it wants similar sanctions for those who fail to reveal who was driving a vehicle during an incident, rather than the present system of fines, which it says does not work.

However the minister, Judith Collins, says the so-called "car crushing" bill has considered what will work. She says courts tend not to impose tough sentences on first-time offences.