Sneaky' cop cars nab speeders
Monday, July 13, 2009
© The Cairns Post
SPECIAL unmarked police vehicles nabbed 23 motorists speeding during a six hour period at the weekend which has disgusted the region's acting inspector.
The patrols on the Bruce Highway, south of Cairns, are believed to have stopped over-eager motorists travelling to the Dunlop Townsville 400 and by midday a motorist had been booked every 17 minutes.
Will you take more care while driving after the launch of the "undercover" police Qcars? [replacer_a]
"It is a concern that they can get that many in such a short period of time Ė it clearly shows that people arenít driving appropriately," acting Far Northern traffic co-ordinator Insp Preben Farbaek said.
"There is still a high rate of motorists that need to get the message and change their driving behaviours."
The weekend operation Ė which came as the regionís horror 2009 road toll sat at 27 Ė was one of many in the region that use the two unmarked police cars called Qcars, which look like any other vehicle on the road.
Acting Innisfail District Insp Peter Williamson said he believed many of the offences were related to people travelling to Townsville.
He said another motorist was caught overtaking a Qcar at 165km/h in a 100km/h zone on the Bruce Highway near Babinda on July 7.
The 21-year-old P-plater from Kirwin in Townsville has had an automatic six-month licence suspension.
"Itís not good," Insp Williamson said.
"People continue to speed and over the last weeks people have seen a lot of high speeds come through.
"Itís only a matter of time until one of these speeds end up in a serious accident."
Apart from the Qcars, there are up to eight other unmarked police cars in the Cairns district also used in operations.
"Itís about trying to change the mentality of these blatant road offenders," Insp Farbaek said.
"We try to have a high visibility presence out there but we canít obviously be everywhere at once. Itís definitely not revenue raising. We refer to that as a voluntary tax.
"If you donít want to pay them donít commit the offences."
After phasing the special Qcars out in the v80s and í90s the police are reintroducing them into the fleet and more are expected soon.
"The issue here is to try to get people to drive safely whenever they think police arenít around," Insp Farbaek said.
"It enables us to be a little more operational in a sneaky way and instil that healthy thought in the personís mind."
Gotcha: Constable Wayne Lummis from Cairns traffic branch with the new VW Golf GTI, one of the new fleet of undercover cars that can book people for speeding. Picture: CHRIS HYDE