Disbanding police mechanics opposed

The Police Association has criticised  a police proposal to cut 26 jobs from the commercial vehicle investigation unit.

Last year, police announced a proposal to redeploy 111 road policing staff into other areas of police under a $960million road policing funding package.

It has  since emerged that a proposal to cut 26 vehicle safety officers (VSO) jobs from the CVIU is part of that proposal.

"The 26 VSOs are to be disbanded," association president Chris Cahill said.

"These highly specialised mechanics and engineers who focus on the safety of New Zealand’s heavy duty vehicles are not sworn officers and so cannot be simply absorbed into other policing duties."

National road policing manager  Superintendent Steve Greally said police were consulting  affected staff  and no decisions had been made.

Road safety partner agencies and representatives from the heavy vehicle industry were also being formally consulted.

"We are committed to a fair consultation process with our staff and stress that no decisions will be made until all submissions have been considered," Supt Greally said.

"We acknowledge the consultation process is unsettling for some staff and so we are working directly with them, our HR team, welfare support and the Police Association as appropriate to ensure that a fair and transparent process is followed."

Mr Cahill said the expertise of the VSOs contributed to the safety of New Zealand’s roads.

The association wanted to know which independent agency would take over  the inspections and  be responsible for reporting on the roadworthiness of commercial vehicles involved in crashes.

"Taking staff from road policing when New Zealand’s freight levels are expected to increase 75% over the next 25 years is extremely short-sighted,"  Mr Cahill said.

timothy.brown@odt.co.nz

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