Monday 28 June 2010 Estimates Committee B (Thorp) - Part 2
Hansard of the Legislative Council

Mr FINCH - Minister, could you tell me the prevalence of people not carrying their driver's licence and being asked for it?  I will be broadening the situation where warnings were going to be issued in the first instance, and then people were going to be fined after a third offence.  Could I just get an update on whether revenue has been raised from that offence?

Ms THORP - Can we take that on notice please to get the detail?

Mr FINCH - Yes.  Supplementary to that; I remember in the debate beforehand, I raised the having devices where you could have a driver sitting in front of you, they say who they are, you punch their name into a device - which I think was available in America at the time - and you could in fact get a picture back of the driver, whatever name they gave, and then you could see whether in fact they were driving illegally and then you could nab them on the spot rather than have people lie about who they are and turn up with their mate's driver's licence at the police station. 

Ms THORP - In this budget, we have the mobile data terminals which are available in police cars which can do that.

Mr FINCH - Can do the trick?  They can do that now?

Mr HINE - Yes.  If the police pull someone up and they say they have not got their licence on them that is an offence.  Then they can actually go back to their computer terminal in the car, do some checks in relation to it, and we are not actually working with DIER to actually get their photo as well so in the car they have all that information so the police officer can check them there and then.

Mr FINCH - How long will that be before you will be able to actually have a photo of the driver?

Mr HINE - It is not that far away.  We are still working through some protocols in relation to that technology.

Ms THORP - Privacy and security and issues like this too.

Mr HINE - Yes but it is still an offence not to carry your driver's licence.  It has actually worked very very well.  Most of the driving population do carry their driver's licence.

Mr FINCH - Yes but I am wondering how many - oh, you are going to get that.

Ms THORP - As well as that we have also got now a vehicle in each district which has a permanently mounted camera on the roof and it does not require the driver of the vehicle to operate it, it is an automatically operated camera, and it takes photographs of number plates.  So the person is driving along and they hear a beep and they realise that the car in front of them is unregistered or being driven by a disqualified driver. 

There is one in each district and they go all the time so they are off doing their own normal policing business.  In the month's trial more than a hundred unregistered drivers were detected.  When you consider the over-representation of people driving without a licence how they appear in our serious crime, serious accident and fatality statistics, it is all the better because these are the people we need to get off the road.

Mr FINCH - Yes, that is right.  That was the premise that we were given before the introduction of the carriage of licence and I think Assistant Commissioner Johnston - I think that's what he was at that stage - assured me five years ago that technology was five years away.

Ms THORP - He was spot-on there.  I think people should feel comfortable with the way the police detection methods are going with the use of technology.  More and more the police are able to target the ones they need to target most, rather than just having a road stop - show us your licence, show us your registration papers, checking your sticker - where you might pull up 200 cars and get two or three offenders at the most - I am probably being generous here, aren't I? -

Mr HINE - Very.

Ms THORP - Because most people are pretty good.  If in the normal course the day the police are driving around, as soon as they drive past an unregistered vehicle - and it could be acting completely properly, not doing anything wrong other than driving around unregistered - they would be on to it.

Mr FINCH - That is exactly as it should be. 

Mr HINE - There certainly is a message out there now that people need to register their vehicles because if they do not the likelihood of getting caught has gone up in the last month.  It is about 30 per hour that we are getting in relation to unlicensed and unregistered.  We also have computer terminals in the motor vehicles and instead of doing 42 checks a day through the radio room, we can do more than 600 now so the productivity has increased and chances of getting unlicensed, disqualified and unregistered people has greatly increased.  There is just no excuse for people to break the law and the likelihood of their getting caught has greatly increased.