Category Archives: Australia

TAC suspends police funding after it was revealed that officers faked 258,000 breath tests

iT IS NOT CLEAR IF THE DELIBERATE FALSE READINGS WERE TO SAVE THE MOTORISTS OR GET EXTRA CONVICTIONS FOR THE STATE TO RAISE REVENUE.FORMER IS TRUE,THEN OK. IT WOULD SEEM THAT MORE TESTS WERE DONE BY OFFICERS ON THEMSELVES TO MEET QUOTAS FOR NUMBERS TESTED

The Transport Accident Commission has suspended its funding to Victoria Police following revelations officers falsified more than a quarter of a million roadside breath tests.

The Age revealed that more than 258,000 alcohol breath tests were faked over 5½ years, in what appears to be a rather deliberate ruse to dupe the system.

In the wake of the scandal, $4 million in annual funding the TAC gives to police for road safety measures has been put on hold, the head of Victoria Police’s Professional Standards Command, Assistant Commissioner Russell Barrett, confirmed.

“The TAC have suspended funding of our operations at this point, and we’re currently working through that with them to give them some reassurances,” Mr Barrett said.

Meanwhile, an external investigator has been appointed to probe the breath-testing scandal. Former Victoria Police chief commissioner Neil Comrie will look into how the behaviour was condoned & allowed to occur and what the force could do to improve operational practice in the future.

“I had not heard of our members engaging in such practiceSs. We let ourselves down, we’ve let the community down. It stops now,” Mr Barrett told The Age on Wednesday night.

An audit found that in many situations, officers had blown into breath test units themselves or actually tampered with the test devices.

“Victoria Police doesn’t set quotas at local levels broadly,” Mr Barrett said on Thursday. “If local members, local managers set a target for members, then that’s a matter for local areas.”

The police findings represent about 1.5 per cent of the 17.7 million breath tests conducted.

Police said about 1500 preliminary breath test devices were analysed during the internal investigation.

Police Association secretary Wayne Gatt said the faked tests were the result of “critically under-resourced”, over-worked officers trying to meet unrealistic targets.

“Call them whatever you want, targets, quotas, objectives. It’s no lie, every individual van across the state gets told that they have to target PBTs … it is wrong to say it doesn’t happen. It does happen. It happens every shift,” he told radio station 3AW.

“They’ve had a dramatic increase in the amount of tests required out on the street. Asking the same amount of people to do more, if follows this sort of behaviour is likely to occur.”

He said he did not believe the members who faked the tests should be stood down.

“I dont think it’s criminal. It’s not fraud… no one is paid for the amount of tests they do. None of our members have a direct financial or other benefits from any of this.

“It’s the wrong thing to do, but it’s a far cry from criminality.”

Victoria Police Minister Lisa Neville labelled the actions an “unacceptable breach of trust.”

“This conduct is extremely disappointing and unacceptable — it’s wrong, it’s a breach of trust, and it won’t be tolerated,” Ms Neville said.

While Ms Neville welcomed an independent investigation into the officers’ behaviour, she said there was no evidence to suggest their alleged conduct had affected drink-driving prosecutions.

But opposition police spokesman Edward O’Donohue said the breach raised plenty of questions.

“The integrity, not only of our police but our road safety regime, is paramount and it is up to Daniel Andrews to make sure this is thoroughly investigated,” Mr O’Donohue said.

The Transport Accident Commission raised concerns with Victoria Police after they found an anomaly in data late last year, Mr Barrett said.

It sparked the audit of the past 5½ years of data from the breathalyser devices.

Mr Barrett said the audit found a suspicious number of breath tests were being conducted in quick succession

Usually there should be a space of time between each test, to take into account an officer talking to a driver and breathalysing them, before moving on to the next car, he said.

But the faked tests occurred one after the other.

Mr Barrett said he believed officers were faking the tests to make themselves appear busier.

“The question we all asked was, ‘Why?’ There could be a number of reasons but the main rationale I believe is to hide or highlight productivity,” he said.

“Whatever reason our workforce may come up with, it isn’t acceptable.”

It is believed self-testing was largely undertaken by police on general duties or highway patrol members, with some rural areas overrepresented in the available data.

The practice was not common at supervised drug and alcohol bus testing sites, police stated.

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Henry Sapiecha

Hi-tech cameras to snag drivers using their mobiles AUSTRALIA

DISTRACTION is one of the leading causes of fatal road crashes in Australia but new hi-tech detection cameras that catch drivers using their mobile phones without them even knowing could soon change everything.

A New South Wales Police spokesman told news.com.au that officers currently “use a variety of methods to detect drivers using their phones while driving”.

“Line-of-site, by trained officers is the primary method of detection, however, long-ranged cameras have been used with success, and helmet cameras in motorcycle police continue to be used,” the spokesman said.

But that technology could soon be replaced by fixed position cameras that automatically issue an infringement notice without the driver even realising they’ve been sprung.

NSW Police Highway Patrol boss, Assistant Commissioner Mick Corboy, told the Nine News there were “emerging technologies coming out”.

“So the way we are going to defeat this is by video evidence, by photographic evidence and we are looking at everything possible around the world at the moment and we think we’ll get something in place fairly quickly,” Mr Corboy said.

His comments came after NSW Minister for Roads Melinda Pavey put out a call on Tuesday for potential providers to present “practical, technology-based solutions to address the problem” of mobile phone use in cars.

“Developing this technology would be a world-first and is one of the priorities of our Road Safety Plan 2021 that we announced,” Mrs Pavey said.

As part of the Road Safety Plan 2021, the NSW Government outlined its plans to implement legislative changes to allow camera technology to enforce mobile phone use offences.

Mrs Pavey said the Road Transport Legislation Amendment (Road Safety) Bill 2018 was introduced into the NSW Legislative Assembly on March 6, 2018. NSW is the first jurisdiction to introduce such legislation in Australia.

Last year, NSW Police handed out about 42,000 fines to drivers caught on their mobile phones, with the distraction increasingly emerging as a factor in fatal crashes over the past decade.

In February this year, serial texter Jakob Thornton, was allegedly engrossed in his phone when he ploughed into a roadside breath test in southwest Sydney, seriously injuring two officers.

Senior Constable Jonathon Wright had his foot and part of his lower leg amputated and Senior Constable Matthew Foley suffered a broken leg.

Alex McCredie demonstrates how the hi-tech cameras that can detect drivers using mobile phones work. Picture: Mark Stewart.

According to National Road Safety Partnership Program (NRSPP) Manager Jerome Carslake, the most common causes of road fatalities and car accidents occasioning serious harm are fatigue, speed, distraction (including mobile phones), and alcohol or drugs.

During the 12 months ending in February 2018, there were 1249 road deaths across Australia. That was a 0.2 per cent decrease compared to the total for the 12-month period ending February 2017.

In 2016, 1300 lives were lost on roads nationwide, which was an increase of nearly 8 per cent on the previous year (1205).

Mr Corboy said in a statement earlier this month that too many people made “poor decisions” while driving. “Every fatal crash is a tragedy for not only those involved, but for the families they leave behind,” he said.

“The most frustrating part about it is that most crashes are preventable if people slow down and take responsibility on our roads.”

In NSW, motorists caught using a mobile phone while driving can be slapped with a $330 fine and a loss of four demerit points, regardless of whether they’re repeat offenders or not.

The Australian Capital Territory has some of the toughest laws in the country, with a fine of $528 and loss of four demerit points for a driver caught texting or using social media behind the wheel.

Like the ACT, Western Australia also has a separate specific offence for motorists caught texting while driving. “WA Police Force is constantly looking for new ways to target offences frequently linked to serious and fatal crashes on our roads, including inattention through mobile phone use,” a WA Police spokesman told news.com.au.

“The penalty for using a mobile phone while driving is $400 and three demerit points.”

This driver was booked by Acting Sargeant Paul Stanford for using a mobile phone while driving in Brisbane City and copped a $378 fine. Picture: Jamie Hanson.

In Queensland, motorists can be fined $378 and have three demerit points recorded against their traffic history if they are caught holding a mobile phone for any reason while driving – that includes when they’re stopped at traffic lights or in congested traffic.

Learner and P1 drivers are prohibited from using hands free, wireless headsets or a mobile phone’s loudspeaker function. “At this time the QPS does not have technology to detect drivers using mobile phones,” a QLD Police spokesman told news.com.au.

Double demerit points apply for second or subsequent mobile phone offences committed within one year after an earlier offence.

A hi-tech camera which can detect people using their mobile phones while driving was trialled in Melbourne last year. Picture: Mark Stewart.

A red-light style camera capable of photographing drivers illegally using their mobile phones was trialled in Melbourne, Victoria last year. The technology – touted as a world first – detected 272 culprits during a five-hour test across just one lane of the Eastern Freeway, the Herald Sun reported.

The trial revealed that 7.1 per cent of the drivers observed infringed phone use laws. And 65.8 per cent of those offences related to motorists actively using their phone by holding it or touching it in a cradle. Authorities said in December last year that they were always looking at ways to improve road safety but had no current plans to introduce the technology.

This driver was booked for using his mobile phone whilst driving in Brisbane. Picture: Jamie Hanson.

A South Australia Police spokesman told news.com.au the state “doesn’t yet have any technologies to assist in the detection of driving while using mobile phones”.

As of November 11, 2017, the fine for using a mobile phone while driving was $327 plus a $60 government levy – totalling $387 coupled with three demerit points. Drivers are permitted to touch their phones only if they are making or receiving a call on a device mounted to the vehicle.

“To avoid doubt, nothing … authorises a person to use a mobile phone by pressing a key on the device, or by otherwise manipulating the body or screen of the phone, if the phone is not secured in a mounting affixed to the vehicle,” the legislation reads.

The SA Police spokesman said it was “lawful to pull over to the side of the road to a place where it is legal to stop and make or receive a telephone call”.

“There is no requirement to turn off the engine,” he said. “Although the rule that relates to mobile telephones does not say that the vehicle must be in an area where it is legal to park, other Australian Road Rules come into play.

“To put that into perspective, it is not legal to park at a set of traffic lights, therefore it is unlawful to use a hand held phone while stationary at those lights.”

Acting Sargeant Paul Stanford speaks to a motorist in Brisbane City.

Henry Sapiecha

West Australian police officers suffer setback in Fremantle Taser damages appeal

Three WA policemen who Tasered a couple during an arrest and were ordered to pay damages have had an appeal setback, with their union not paying security on a crucial court costs bill.

Robert Cunningham and Catherine Atoms were outside the Esplanade Hotel in the early hours of November 2, 2008 when they saw a group of men falling into a garden bed and tried to help.

But police believed they were causing a disturbance and the couple were Tasered during a scuffle.

The University of WA associate professor of law and Ms Atoms sued the state and the three officers involved, Peter Clark, Simon Traynor and Glenn Caldwell, and were awarded $1.1 million in damages.

The 2015 trial judge found the officers were liable for battery, misfeasance in public office, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.

She also found the conduct caused the couple to suffer post-traumatic stress disorder and a back injury to Ms Atoms.

The officers challenged, arguing on 24 grounds, but were ordered by Justice Robert Mitchell last month to pay $90,000 security on a court costs bill – already estimated to have reached at least $900,000 – by August 23 or the appeal would be dismissed.

On Wednesday, the full bench of the Court of Appeal dismissed an application to review Justice Mitchell’s order.

The court heard the union decided not to provide the security payment, and the judges said “the appeal is arguable, but we … would not put it any higher than that”.

But the officers have applied for a 48-hour extension to make the payment and will find out later on Wednesday if it has been allowed.

In his recent provisional assessment of the appeal, Justice Mitchell said the arguments advanced in support of grounds one to 19 were “far from strong”.

He also noted the officers’ liability for damages and trial costs already exceeded their assets.

Traynor’s wages have been suspended as he is on continued sick leave while Caldwell is unemployed and receives a disability pension but Clark continues to work in the police force.

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Henry Sapiecha

Australia’s most wanted fugitives named by police in these pics

Police launch Operation Roam in the hope of getting the community to assist with catching 18 individuals on the run from the law.

The country’s most wanted offenders are currently at large and possibly hiding in plain sight in communities across the nation, according to Crime Stoppers Australia.

Operation Roam: Rogue Radar kicks off today (August 21-27), in an attempt to catch Australia’s most wanted.

“The individuals named in this year’s Operation Roam are responsible for a range of offences, including murder and armed robbery,” Chairman of Crime Stoppers Australia, Trevor O’Hara said.

“These criminals could be working alongside you in your community. It might be a new person you’ve noticed in your area or a more familiar face such as a neighbour, work colleague, friend or even a family member.”

Last year 19 persons of interest were named as part of the campaign. Of those police were able to locate and arrest 11 offenders.

This year four fugitives are wanted in New South Wales, six in Queensland, six in Victoria, three in South Australia and one in the Northern Territory.

“We urge members of the public to visit http://www.rogueradar.com.au to see if they recognise any of these faces and report anything they know about these individuals.

“Many of these people are wanted for a range of serious offences so we advise members of the public to put them on your radar but do not approach them under any circumstances.”

If you have any information on anyone on the Rogue Radar list, contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Source: CrimeStoppers

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Henry Sapiecha

 

 

 

16 people go missing every day in Queensland Australia

Queensland’s dedicated Missing Persons Unit has the job of solving the mystery of more than 300 missing persons. Some have been missing for decades and some only months

THEY are the faces of everyday people – your neighbour, an old friend, somebody who you might have gone to school with.

They are someone’s son or daughter. They could have been somebody’s mum or dad.

What they all have in common is that they belong to a unique collection of people in our state – a group of more than 300 long-term missing persons.

Some of these faces have not been seen for decades. For others, it has only been a matter of months since they were reported missing.

Police hold concerns for the safety and welfare of all of these people – as is the case for every missing person.

The task to track them down, to solve the mystery of their disappearance, falls into the hands of Queensland’s dedicated Missing Persons Unit.

The man in charge is Detective Senior Sergeant Damien Powell, a police officer with more than 30 years experience and who has led the unit for eight years. He says there have been some memorable cases, but it would be “unfair” to single one out.

“Because each year there’s about 20 missing persons … that we can’t locate and that’s 20 families who are desperate for answers,” he says.

“I just feel it does them an injustice to focus on one particular case.”

This specialist unit is unique in its operation as it’s the only Missing Persons Unit in the country to offer assistance seven days a week, typically from 7am to 10pm.

They deal with more than 6000 cases every year – about 16 every day – and more than 60 per cent involve children under the age of 16.

“They’re (the children) a large chunk of our business,” Sen-Sgt Powell says.

“Typically, the reason (children under 12) go missing is they have a fight with a sibling, or they do a chore, or they’re forgetful.

“They’re a high risk simply because crossing the road is a danger to them.”

Sen-Sgt Powell says risk assessment is crucial to what his unit does, gauging the potential danger every missing person could be exposed to.

“Obviously some missing persons are low risk, others are high risk,” he says.

“Our office is very focused on risk assessment and ensuring that the service response is appropriate for those missing persons.

“Each and every time somebody goes missing, we assess the risk for that individual occasion because it could be different to the previous time.”

For missing children, this risk assessment can be extended to the consideration of a potential abduction – something Sen-Sgt Powell says is fortunately a rare occurrence in Queensland.

The three main reasons adults go missing, Sen-Sgt Powell says, are health issues, financial pressures and relationship breakdowns.

“A missing person is any person whose whereabouts are unknown and there’s concerns for their safety or wellbeing,” he says. “So, a simple loss of contact doesn’t constitute a missing person.”

The number of people reported missing has been rising steadily over the past 18 months, Sen-Sgt Powell says.

He says the increase is largely due to publicity, but he also points to the potential impact of technology.

“Interestingly, the digital age and mobile phones have heightened people’s sensitivity to not getting hold of someone,” he says.

“Pre-digital age, if you didn’t hear from someone for 24 hours, then it wasn’t an issue because mobile phones didn’t exist.

“Now, people start to become concerned when the mobile phone is not answered because everybody’s got one and everybody’s got one on them …”

The group of people who are reported missing the least are aged 17 to 25 – an age group Sen-Sgt Powell says are more likely to be digitally connected.

“They’re fresh out of school, so they’ve got a lot of friends from school,” he says. “They’re in university or they’re in employment.

“They’re still connected with a circle of friends and we see this disassociation developing in later life.”

Sen-Sgt Powell says it is still important for people to report a person missing as soon as they have concerns for their safety or welfare.

“If it’s under suspicious circumstances, then people’s memory is going to be better the sooner you talk to them,” he says.

“Our access to data and CCTV is going to be better the sooner you report them missing and our chances of recovering them alive are obviously greater.

“We’d rather know sooner than later if there’s concerns for the safety and welfare.”

When it comes to Crime Stoppers’ role with missing persons, Queensland chief executive Trevor O’Hara says the community always responds in “great numbers” when an alert is issued.

“There’s always a great community outpouring of information once someone goes missing,” he says.

“We’re actually getting pieces of information which at the time may seem irrelevant, but they help to build an amazing timeline about things.”

Mr O’Hara says missing children also generate plenty of calls from the community.

“If anything involves kids, we get calls here at Crime Stoppers, the police at Policelink get calls, triple-zero get calls,” he says.

“There’s a real sense of community support around young people especially.

“We actually get a response almost like children when it comes to seniors.”

As well as fielding calls from the community, Mr O’Hara says that Crime Stoppers has also received calls from those who were reported missing.

“We have also taken calls from missing persons themselves and the beauty of that is it is anonymous,” he says. “They’re ringing from somewhere in the country to tell us that they’re OK and obviously we do our best to get that message through to the right person.”

Mr O’Hara says the caller must provide “unique information” to verify their identity.

There are currently more than 300 people on Queensland’s list of long-term missing persons.

One of those is Kathleen O’Shea, a mother of five from Melbourne who visited the state’s far north in December 2005 ahead of the birth of her first grandchild.

On December 29, her son Alan drove Ms O’Shea to a street in Atherton to drop her off.

She told him she was off to play pool at the Atherton Hotel and afterwards she would visit friends in Mareeba.

According to a the findings of a coronial inquest handed down in 2014, Ms O’Shea visited a bottle shop that night at the Atherton Hotel, and left in the company of two men.

That was the last time the 44-year-old was seen.

A coroner ruled in 2014 that Ms O’Shea had died.

Although the cause of her death could not be determined, it was “most likely that an unknown person or persons with whom she came into contact either at the Atherton Hotel or soon after she left there, caused her death and disposed of her body”.

Ms O’Shea’s now 30-year-old daughter, Lily Parmenter, says she had a feeling something was wrong when her mum first disappeared.

“It wasn’t like her to leave and not give any warning as to her whereabouts,” she says.

“We spoke the day before … and she seemed fine.”

Ms Parmenter, who describes her mum as “funny” and “loving”, believes Ms O’Shea was taken by someone.

“I don’t know who and I don’t know why,” she says. “I think that someone did take her and the thing that kills me the most is the fact we haven’t found a body.

“I want to be able to bury my mum with a bit of dignity. It kills me to think what her final moments could have been. It’s been the source of nightmares for me.”

Ms Parmenter says she hopes there is someone who knows what happened to her mum and would be willing to speak out. “If they’re protecting someone, they shouldn’t be protecting anyone.”

“They should be trying to help five kids trying to get some closure. Nothing is too small in terms of details,” she says.

Police have no new information on Ms O’Shea’s disappearance.

Sen-Sgt Powell says police are also appealing for details to track down 63-year-old Toowoomba woman Barbara Troughton who went missing in January last year.

“(She) was operating a small grocery store in Toowoomba and one morning left a note for her partner that she’d had enough,” he says.

“We believe Barbara’s still alive and well, but where she is, we have no idea.”

And each missing person’s disappearance has a major effect on the many people in their lives.

“Australian research has shown that for every missing person there’s 12 people directly affected. It has a significant impact on the community,” Sen-Sgt Powell says.

If you or someone you know needs support, contact Lifeline, call 13 11 14

MISSING PERSONS SITE HERE QLD POLICE

The National Missing Persons Unit Web Site
http://www.missingpersons.gov.au/

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Henry Sapiecha

Know your rights when pulled over by police?AUSTRALIA

police-search-advice image www.policesearch.net

The flashing red-and-blues of a police car in the rear-view mirror have the unique effect of making even the most innocent of drivers feel like Pablo Escobar with a boot packed to overflowing with white powder.

But that sinking feeling is magnified a thousand times over when it’s blended with the crushing realisation that you have, in fact, committed an offence worthy of the constabulary’s attention. Your once clear mind becomes a swirling mix of harried excuses and accidental admissions of guilt as, dreading the worst, your sweaty hands shakily hand over your licence.

And while we would never advocate committing an offence behind the wheel of a car, or make excuses for those who do, we equally realise that mistakes can happen, and it’s important to know your rights when pulled over by police, whether you’ve done something wrong or not.

The below advice is a general summary, but it’s important to be across the specific legislation in your state or territory. The police pull-over procedure, and your specific rights and obligations, can vary, and it’s always a good idea to seek professional advice, should you ever need it.

Since the introduction of the random breath test, a police officer can pull you over anytime they’ like.

“Every state has its own legislation and obligations, so it is important to investigate the specifics pertinent to where you live,” says Andrew Tiedt, a partner at Armstrong Legal in Sydney.

“But remember, there’s nothing wrong with saying to the police, “Do I have to let you do this?”. If they say, “Can I search your car?” there’s nothing wrong with asking if you can refuse their request.

“Finally, don’t answer questions you don’t have to answer. There’s nothing you can say in that moment that will improve your chances in a later court hearing. You can only harm them. So go home, think it over, seek professional advice and then figure out the best approach from there.”

The below answers some of the most common questions surrounding your rights and the police in Australia.

When can you be pulled over?

There was once a time when, in order to be stopped by police, there needed to be a reason – or, to use legal parlance, you’d need to have given them probable cause (be it speeding, driving erratically or doing something illegal) – for a police officer to stop you. So, if you were to scream past a police car with a radar gun, cross double white lines or were spotted not wearing a seatbelt, using a phone or looking generally suspicious, you could be stopped.

But since the introduction of the random breath test, a police officer can pull you over anytime they’d like to administer the breath alcohol exam, and that means you no longer need to have done anything wrong before being stopped.

What are my rights if I’m stopped?

First things first, you don’t need to answer any questions, nor provide any personal information, other than your name and address. You are also required by law to hand over your driver’s licence so police can check you’re telling them the truth. So, what happens if you get pulled over without a license? Driving without your licence can be an offence, and can cost you cash.

While you don’t have to volunteer information, it’s always a judgement call as to whether you want to aggravate the situation by not answering menial and non-incriminating questions, especially if you’ve done nothing wrong. The same goes for those wondering if they can video police in Australia during a traffic stop. While not illegal to film your interaction with police, it’s also likely to inflame the situation, so a judgement call will be required.

If you don’t pull over when asked, however, things take a far more serious turn. In NSW, for example, a new law known as Skye’s Law (named for a toddler killed by a car evading a police stop) includes stiff penalties, including up to three years in prison for the first offence, five years if you have been convicted of a major offence in the preceding five years, as well as a lengthy driving disqualification.

What are my rights when pulled over by police?

The flashing red-and-blues of a police car in the rear-view mirror have the unique effect of making even the most innocent of drivers feel like Pablo Escobar with a boot packed to overflowing with white powder.

But that sinking feeling is magnified a thousand times over when it’s blended with the crushing realisation that you have, in fact, committed an offence worthy of the constabulary’s attention. Your once clear mind becomes a swirling mix of harried excuses and accidental admissions of guilt as, dreading the worst, your sweaty hands shakily hand over your licence.

And while we would never advocate committing an offence behind the wheel of a car, or make excuses for those who do, we equally realise that mistakes can happen, and it’s important to know your rights when pulled over by police, whether you’ve done something wrong or not.

The below advice is a general summary, but it’s important to be across the specific legislation in your state or territory. The police pull-over procedure, and your specific rights and obligations, can vary, and it’s always a good idea to seek professional advice, should you ever need it.

Since the introduction of the random breath test, a police officer can pull you over anytime they like.

POLICE-PULLING-OVER-MOTORISTS IMAGE www.policesearch.net

“Every state has its own legislation and obligations, so it is important to investigate the specifics pertinent to where you live,” says Andrew Tiedt, a partner at Armstrong Legal in Sydney.

“But remember, there’s nothing wrong with saying to the police, “Do I have to let you do this?”. If they say, “Can I search your car?” there’s nothing wrong with asking if you can refuse their request.

“Finally, don’t answer questions you don’t have to answer. There’s nothing you can say in that moment that will improve your chances in a later court hearing. You can only harm them. So go home, think it over, seek professional advice and then figure out the best approach from there.”

The below answers some of the most common questions surrounding your rights and the police in Australia.

When can you be pulled over?

There was once a time when, in order to be stopped by police, there needed to be a reason – or, to use legal parlance, you’d need to have given them probable cause (be it speeding, driving erratically or doing something illegal) – for a police officer to stop you. So, if you were to scream past a police car with a radar gun, cross double white lines or were spotted not wearing a seatbelt, using a phone or looking generally suspicious, you could be stopped.

But since the introduction of the random breath test, a police officer can pull you over anytime they’d like to administer the breath alcohol exam, and that means you no longer need to have done anything wrong before being stopped.

What are my rights if I’m stopped?

First things first, you don’t need to answer any questions, nor provide any personal information, other than your name and address. You are also required by law to hand over your driver’s licence so police can check you’re telling them the truth. So, what happens if you get pulled over without a license? Driving without your licence can be an offence, and can cost you cash.

While you don’t have to volunteer information, it’s always a judgement call as to whether you want to aggravate the situation by not answering menial and non-incriminating questions, especially if you’ve done nothing wrong. The same goes for those wondering if they can video police in Australia during a traffic stop. While not illegal to film your interaction with police, it’s also likely to inflame the situation, so a judgement call will be required.

If you don’t pull over when asked, however, things take a far more serious turn. In NSW, for example, a new law known as Skye’s Law (named for a toddler killed by a car evading a police stop) includes stiff penalties, including up to three years in prison for the first offence, five years if you have been convicted of a major offence in the preceding five years, as well as a lengthy driving disqualification.

What do police check when I’m pulled over?

That nerve-wracking wait when a police officer takes your licence back to their vehicle is down to the fact that almost every traffic stop includes a check on your name and vehicle to ensure there’s no outstanding court or enforcement orders against you.

Hopefully, and mostly, there isn’t, and the officer will simply hand your licence back to you.

Can police search my car in Australia?

Once stopped, police only need to ‘reasonably suspect’ illegal activity to search your vehicle. And the term ‘reasonable’ is incredibly vague, from the driver talking quickly or even just appearing nervous, which is just about every person ever stopped by the police.

What to do if you are pulled over for a DUI test?

As mentioned above, the police can pull you over at absolutely at any moment – and without you having done anything to warrant the attention – to administer a random breath test.

It’s actually a two-, and sometimes three-stage process, and failing the roadside examination doesn’t always mean you’ll be charged with an offence. The mobile device used during a road stop in some states (the one in which you’re asked to count to 10, rather than blow into a straw) is actually only capable of measuring whether alcohol is present on your breath.

If a driver fails that ‘screening’ test, the traditional breathalyser is produced to take an official roadside reading. But if you fail, even that test won’t be produced in court, instead you’ll be arrested and taken to the closest police station (or to the command bus) where you’ll be tested a third time, the results of which will be used as evidence.

But don’t think a trip to the police station will always work in your favour. While it’s true that the only thing that can lower your blood-alcohol content is time, it’s also true that the amount of alcohol present in your blood actually increases in the period immediately after you’ve stopped drinking before it then starts to decrease, so the results of the station test could actually be worse than the roadside one.

Refuse a breath test at the side of the road, and you’ll be immediately taken to the station for an official test. Refuse that, and you’ll be charged and face heavy penalties – often worse than those for high-range drink driving.

What are my rights when I’m pulled over for speeding?

A stop for a suspicion of speeding changes your rights exactly not at all, with you still only obligated to confirm your name and home address.

And its here where you should be particularly cautious with what bonus information you offer the police. If you’re sprung by a fixed camera or radar gun, your chances of defending it in court are minimal. But in NSW, for example, police can still book you on what’s called a speed ‘estimate.’ That means the police just have to think you were speeding, and don’t need to provide any proof.

It’s these speed estimates that are the most defendable in court, but your chances of clearing a ticket plummet if you are recorded confirming you were speeding when asked by the officer.

But most important of all, and with all matters of the law, if in doubt, seek professional advice.

Ever been pulled over by the police? Tell us about your experiences HERE

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Henry Sapiecha

 

36 Police Women From Across many nations/countries

Policing is one of the toughest jobs anywhere in the world with long hours, dangerous shifts and acting as the last line of protection between the general public and tyranny a lot of the time. Despite its perils, this job is held in high regard wherever you are in the world and is done by those willing to put themselves out there on the streets. However, even in this progressive day and age, there are very few women in Police forces (generally speaking) and so in this gallery, we celebrate those who have taken up the cause in whatever country they happen to be in.

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1. Austria

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Ranked as one of the best police forces in the world in one of the most peaceful countries in the world, the Austrian Police force, as it is now, was only formed in 2005 by merging the Gendarmerie and the Polizei into the federal Police Force. With about 12% women within the force, the Austrian police force has a relatively high female presence compared to many other countries and even has all female task forces in certain cities.

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2. Poland

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15% of the Polish Policja are female and in 2015, the country nominated its first female chief of Police. Women have been allowed into the Polish police force since 1925, a centralized force that operates within the 17 municipal regions of the country.

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3. Iraq

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In a country of strict religious grounding, women have not always been allowed into the police force and even when they were, only lower rank positions were available to them, however, since 2009, this has changed and the first class of women advanced through elite officer training. A highly dangerous job in a country where insurgents often target figures of authority, it also one of the most highly paid.

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4. Japan

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Only around 7.7% of Japan’s police force are women and most are mainly on low-profile assignments such as traffic control. Up until the early 1990’s female officers were not armed, had to wear skirts instead of slacks, and were assigned to ‘less hazardous’ duties like traffic control, juvenile counseling, and office duties but this has slowly begun to change over time. It was only in 2009 that female officers were put on full time ‘koban’ duties or beat patrol.

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5. Iran

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In 2003, some 400 women were employed by Iranian law enforcement as the first female officers since the 1979 revolution and although some still remain within the ranks of the police force, they do not currently recruit female officers due to strict religious concerns.

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6. Malaysia

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Women have been a feature in the Malaysian police force since 1948 when they were employed to stop food supplies falling into the hands of communist terrorists and were needed to help check women for smuggling operations. In 1955 the  first intake of seven women’s with the rank of Women Police Inspector was undertaken, when the Policewoman unit was officially organized, and a year later 56 female police constables were employed.

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7. The Netherlands

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Nochtli Peralta Alvarez is a former police officer in The Netherlands turned Instagram model and athlete who you can follow at instagram.com/nochtlii. Still working as on officer when she turned her hand to modeling, she would regularly get recognized on the street. The Dutch Police Corps is split into 25 regional units and employs around 50,000 people in the country with officers regularly on patrol.

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8. Singapore

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Increasing steadily over the past decade, around 18% of the Singapore police force is now female with an estimated 8,800 uniformed officers, an increase from 14% in 2003. The Women Special Constabulary was first formed in 1949 as a voluntary unit and in 1990, women were allowed part-time positions on traffic patrol and by 2007, a Special Women’s Task Team comprising 23 female officers was formed.

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9. Peru

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Women were first recruited into the Peruvian National Police in 1992 were roles mainly consisted of traffic duties. Now, approximately 11% of the police force are female and greater efforts to employ more throughout the country have been put in place in an attempt to stamp out corruption.

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10. Pakistan

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Women make up only a tiny fraction of Pakistan’s overall police force at around just 0.89%. However, concerted efforts have been made to encourage more women to sign up as it has been found that it can go to greater lengths in helping combatting extremism and terrorism within the country with the US embassy also offering training.

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11. Israel

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With a makeup of around 16% women, the Israeli police force is a centralized force operating out of Jerusalem without any municipal departments. With around 35,000 persons on the payroll. There are also 70,000 Civil Guard volunteers who contribute time to assist officers in their own communities.

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12. England

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The women’s police force in England was first founded in 1914 and staffed by volunteers but a year later, the first female officer with the full powers of arrest was in employ. Around 27.3% of the police force in England and Wales are female.

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13. Chile

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In 1962, the Chilean police force was amongst the first uniformed services within the country to allow women into its ranks. Known as the Carabineros de Chile, the force was formed in 1927 and has jurisdiction over the whole country.

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14. China

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Gaining much attention on social media, this police officer in China’s Anyue County is said to be so beautiful and charming that she can persuade anyone. Often tasked with tackling illegal street vendors, she apparently has such a charming demeanor and smile that vendors do her bidding without arrest or confrontation.

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15. Dominican Republic

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The Dominican Republic National Police and has a separate division of tourism police that can be seen in certain parts of the country. A general police training school was established in 1966 in Dominica and women have been encouraged to join the police force due to the amount of violence directed towards women in the country.

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16. India

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The first woman to joins the Indian Police Service was in 1972 and since then the number has increased dramatically to around 105,000 which is about 6% of the overall force. Now, with over 400 all women police stations in India, a 2004 study found that this led to a 23% increase in reporting of violence against women and children, as well as a higher conviction rate.

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17. Jordan 

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Jordan was the first Arab country to employ policewomen within its law enforcement in 1972 when they primarily used in the police laboratory, in budgeting and accounting, public relations, licensing, and in prison operations. However, operations and patrolling opportunities have become increased and far more frequent since then and they are now also visible on border security.

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18. Norway

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31% of Norway’s police force are women with the aim of making the number 40% very soon, it seems more than likely that half of the police force will be female in the next few years. Dating back to the 13th century, the Norwegian police force is relatively small with around 13,000 employees of which 8,000 are officers.

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19. South Korea 

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Headlines were set ablaze in South Korea and internationally when former Maxim model Kim Miso announced she was to join the Korean police force. Miss Miso was a Miss Maxim Korea 2014 contestant before joining the police force in the capital of South Korea, Seoul.

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20. Russia

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The Russian police force was thrust into the headlines when one of its cadets went on to become Miss St Petersburg. A young, Oxana Federova then went on to become  Miss Kalokagathia 1999, Miss Fitness, Miss Fortune, and Miss Russia 2001 but declined the opportunity to go to Miss Universe that year in order to carry on in her studies. In 2002, Oxana then went on to win Miss Universe and then went on to be named the most beautiful miss Universe ever in 2011. After her Miss Universe stint came to an end Oxana went on to get a Ph.D. and then returned to the police force going on to be being promoted to Captain in September 2002 and Major in 2005.

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21. Philippines

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Sofia Loren Deliu is a police officer in the Philippines and also a Miss Philippines Earth Contestant in 2015. A beauty pageant contestant before she joined the Philippines National Police force, in sich contests as Miss Teen Philippines 2006 and Miss Baguio 2008, Ms. Deliu continued to enter into pageants after her successful enrollment into the police force and even received support from the country’s leaders. She is now part of the security detail for President Rodrigo Duerte.

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22. Yemen

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The first corps of policewomen in Yemen was employed in 1999 and today, some 2,000 women serve in Yemen’s internal security forces. However, numbers are steadily decreasing as the profession is widely seen as male orientated and parents are reluctant to let their children sign up.

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23. Sweden

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Women make up 40% of the overall staff of the Swedish police force and 28% of the officers, and the number is ever increasing with the first group of female police officers being employed in 1908. It wasn’t however, until 1957 that the possibility of becoming a Police Constable on patrol duty was made available to women.

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24. Taiwan

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Earlier this year, a young recruit into the Taiwan police force took the internet by storm for her good looks as pictures of her in her uniform were shared on social media. 23-year-old Huang Yichun graduated from the Taipei Police Academy in 2013 and now works for the Governmental Police Squad of New Taipei City in Taiwan.

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25. U.S.A

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The was the first American-born female police officer in the United States, was hired in 1910 but it took another six decades for numbers to really increase as, by 1970, only two percent of all police were women. The 90s saw this number begin to take off and in 1991, 9% of the force was female.

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26. Nicaragua

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Women make up almost 30 % of Nicaragua’s police force and the chief of police is also a woman. One of the highest ratios of policewomen in the force in the world, It began with the Sandinista revolution of 1979 which saw many women become guerrillas and fight on equal footing with men. When the Sandinista’s won the country, the perception of women in roles of authority had changed and more and more moved into law enforcement.

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27. North Korea

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Little is known about the set-up of most of North Korea’s security forces but women are predominantly seen in policing as traffic cops with one being awarded the country’s top honor in 2013 for an unspecified “heroic feat” leading some to speculate that she may have rescued the country’s supreme leader from a traffic accident.

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28. Lithuania

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With around 30.5% women in the police staff of Lithuania, it has a very high number of female staff members compared to other forces around the world.

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29. Indonesia

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Made up of 400,000 police officers, there are currently 13,000 female police officers in the Indonesian National Police, which is a branch of the country’s armed forces. In 2014 the country came under fire by the human rights watch for subjecting female applicants to the role to a virginity test. Despite complaints that this is invasive and derogatory, the practice is still believed to be in place.

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30. Italy

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There are three kinds of police in Italy, the Polizia, who deal with local policing issues, the Vigili, who are town police dealing mostly with road traffic infringements, and the Carabinieri who are the military police. Until 1999 it was not possible for women to join the latter of these police forces and in 2007, the Polizia made headlines when it issued ‘official’ stilettos to its 14,750 female officers to give their uniform a “younger, sexier look.”

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31. Germany

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A senior police commissioner in Germany was bombarded by messages from adoring fans when her Instagram photos went viral. Adrienne Koleszar  competed in the bikini class of the Bodybuilding-WM in 2015 and has gained a lot of recognition online with some fans even going so far as to be begged to be arrested.

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32. Canada

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Rose Fortune was Canada’s first female police officer in the 19th century but it wasn’t until 1912 that women were ‘officially’ allowed to become police officers. Women officers account for 20.8% of the Canadian officers in the police force.

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33. Iceland

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There is no military or armed forces in Iceland so all law enforcement falls under the jurisdiction of the Icelandic Police force except for that of Icelandic waters which are patrolled by the Icelandic coastguard. There are around 653 police officers in total in the country, 95 of which are women. With the first and only ever shooting death in the country from a police operation happening in 2013, Iceland consistently ranks as the safest police force.

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34. Turkey

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There is an ongoing gender equality struggle in Turkey and, in a largely Islamic country, Women were often kept out of the police force by not being able to wear headscarves if serving, however, this ban was lifted in September 2016.

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35. France

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There are two police forces in France called “Police Nationale” and “Gendarmerie Nationale” with the Gendarmerie being a military branch. Women were initially hindered from entering the police force due to a French law from 1892 banned women from working at night. The ban wasn’t abolished by the French parliament until 2000

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36. Australia

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The police force in Australia is composed of different uniformed officers over a number of states.These police women pictured herein are from the South Australian police force whose images would represent more or less the type of women in the Australian police force

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Henry Sapiecha

 

 

M1 chaos as truck rolls on to police car on Gold Coast’s M1 motorway Qld Australia

A TRAPPED police officer had to be cut from his wrecked car after a terrible smash with a truck on the M1 this morning.

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The M1 is in gridlock after a truck reportedly rolled on to the police car in the southbound lanes just after 11am.

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It is understood two police officers were sitting in the car parked by the side of the M1 when the truck veered out of its lane, clipping the police car on the side and crushing the police car on to the side barrier.

The collision caused the truck to tip on to its side. It then slid 70m down the road.

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The M1 is in chaos after a bad truck and car crash. Photo: Ali Marks

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police-car-crash-gold-coast-qld-australia image www.policesearch (4)A witness reported seeing an officer freed from his vehicle by emergency service personnel using the ‘jaws of life’.

police-car-crash-gold-coast-qld-australia image www.policesearch (5)There are now some lanes closed between exits 62 and 66.

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Traffic is rapidly building and is banked up several kilometres back to the Oxenford exit.

Traffic in the northern lanes is also slowing with reports it has banked up back to Gaven.

There are no details on any injuries from the smash.

Motorists are advised to avoid the area.

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Henry Sapiecha

 

POLICE CHARGE NAKED WOMAN WITH DRINK DRIVING OFFENSE IN AUSTRALIA

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A CASINO woman was completely naked and told police she’d had 10 schooners of beer, two cans of beer and a whole bottle of wine when she was pulled over while driving along Johnston St in Casino earlier this year.

Just after midnight on February 20, police patrolling the Casino CBD noticed a Holden Commodore sedan driving extremely slowly, without its headlights on.

Cynthia Fay Dickson was stopped by police when she turned into Walker St.

When an officer approached Dickson’s Commodore, he noticed she was completely naked and affected by alcohol, police facts stated.

“The accused did not have one stitch of clothing on or any footwear, her speech was slurred and difficult to understand, her eyes were glassy/bloodshot and the vehicle reeked of alcohol,” police facts tendered yesterday before Casino Local Court stated.

Dickson then underwent a roadside breath test, which returned a positive high-range reading.

She was arrested and given a blanket to cover herself, while she was taken to Casino police station for a second breath test.

In an interview with police, Dickson said she had 10 schooners of XXXX beer at a Casino pub, before going home and having two cans of XXXX beer and a full bottle of wine.

Officers were told this occurred between 5.30pm and 11.25pm the evening before, and she hadn’t eaten during that time.

Despite being clearly affected by alcohol, police facts said Dickson was open about why she was naked: “When questioned about her naked state, the accused was rather calm and collected, indicating to police she simply decided to go for a drive to Lismore.”

At Casino police station, Dickson registered a mid-range blood alcohol reading of 0.135.

When she was told about the result of the breath test Dickson had more words with police.

“That’s bad, I am fu**ed,” police facts stated.

“Who cares, you just learn not to do it again.”

When Dickson appeared before Magistrate David Heilpern at Casino Local Court yesterday, she pleaded guilty to mid-range drink driving.

She told the court she had completed the Traffic Offenders Program, which was an “eye opener” for her into what could have been a tragedy the night she was arrested.

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Henry Sapiecha

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Ford Mustang loses its police stripes after overheating within minutes of a simulated pursuit in Australia

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THE Ford Mustang may be in hot demand but it won’t be in hot pursuit.

The iconic US muscle car has lost its police stripes after failing a critical test at the final hurdle before it could become a highway patrol vehicle.

NSW Police are now likely to be driving Volvo sedans and wagons, after their highway patrol counterparts in Queensland took delivery of five Swedish cars last month as part of a trial.

News Corp Australia has been told the Ford Mustang passed a brake test in the simulated pursuit at the police driving academy in Goulburn, however the automatic transmission overheated after just two laps, or about three minutes of driving.

The Mustang was then taken to the local Ford dealership in Goulburn for repairs after the performance flagship went into “limp home mode”.

While Ford is now holding a record 6000 orders in Australia for the Mustang — pushing the waiting list to 18 months — none will join NSW Police ranks after failing the endurance test, which is conducted for safety reasons before a car can be put into police service.

The future of the Ford Mustang bought by NSW Police for the trial is unclear. It may be used as a show pony at road safety displays, or could be stripped of its livery and sold.

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The Ford Mustang was one of a number of vehicles police are considering to replace Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon pursuit cars, once they go out of production.

The Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon have been a staple of highway patrol fleets across Australia for decades, with more than 1000 in use nationally.

The Mustang’s police test failure means Ford will miss out on a large slice of the market it has previously dominated.

While cars like the Toyota Camry will replace general duties police sedans, finding suitable highway patrol vehicles is more difficult because the Falcon and Commodore have a lot of performance for the price.

Once the Ford production line closes in October 2016 and the Holden production line closes in late 2017, police will be forced to drive imported cars.

Ford spokesman Wes Sherwood told News Corp Australia the Mustang “was not specially engineered for police use” and described the test as “extreme” as it involves “more than twice the amount of braking manoeuvres as the global standard”. Ford had to make upgrades to the brakes and transmission cooling to the current Falcon before it passed the police test.

Mr Sherwood added: “We are confident Mustang would help officers chase down bad guys if put into service”.

NSW Police said it would not comment as the evaluation process for highway patrol replacement vehicles was “ongoing”.

Last week, police in Victoria became the envy of their colleagues after taking delivery of a $200,000 Mercedes SUV that can sprint from 0 to 100kmh in a Porsche-like 4.2 seconds.

But it did not cost taxpayers one cent because it was donated by Mercedes for a 12-month trial.

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Henry Sapiecha