When the idea of merging police and traffic officers was first mooted I supported it.
Hardly anyone liked the traffic cops – those big blokes with big moustaches riding big bikes in black leather – and most people supported the police.
But instead of improving the image of traffic enforcers, the merger has tainted the image of police.
It’s not just because they are most visible as traffic enforcers. But the suspicion that some enforcement has had a lot more to do with revenue gathering than making roads safer has grown and people resent the over-zealous approach to traffic policing when crimes like burglaries don’t always get the attention they deserve.
Now Police Commissioner Howard Broad is proposing to use dedicated traffic enforcement officers to help patrol roads, rather than fully sworn police.
The idea has the blessing of Police Minister Judith Collins.
I think it’s a good idea too, with one proviso – the traffic cops don’t go back to the black leather and moustache look which so many of them sported in the past.