Police Commissioner wants L.T.A. role

The tussle between the Land Transport Authority (L.T.A.) and the Samoa Police Service (S.P.S.) over who should enforce traffic infringements and collect fines is far from over.

The Commissioner of Police Fuiavailiili Egon Keil wrote a letter to the Prime Minister and Police Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, last month requesting that the Road Traffic Act 2009 is amended to enable the Police to create and print its own traffic offence notices, issue traffic citations and get credit for revenue generated from traffic fines.

“Additionally, not mentioned in the previous correspondence for Cabinet, to reconsider returning all law enforcement functions related to traffic enforcement to the Samoa Police Service. 

“After all S.P.S. is a 24-hour law enforcement entity, unlike L.T.A. With L.T.A.’s efforts directed away from street enforcement, they can focus on administrative mandates such as driver’s license and vehicular registration requirements, including road construction and maintenance and vehicular safety inspections conducted on their premises,” Fuiavailiili stated in his letter, dated October 2, 2018.

He said this practice is found in New Zealand, Australia and the United States of America and making the changes will eliminate confusion by the public, when two separate traffic law enforcement agencies operate simultaneously on the same streets. 

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Under the current Road Traffic Act 2009, the L.T.A. is the authorized entity to prints ticket books and collect revenue generated from traffic infringement penalties.  

In June this year, the Attorney General, Lemalu Herman Retzlaff, wrote to the Commissioner and C.E.O. of the L.T.A. acknowledging the disagreement, and advised that the matter should be settled by Cabinet. 

According to Lemalu, the move by the Police seeking to amend the law to allow the S.P.S. to issue notices and collect revenues “was not supported by the L.T.A. which is the administrator of the Road Traffic Act 2009”, Lemalu stated in his letter.  

Revenue generation targets, which is set by the Ministry of Treasury, was also highlighted by Fuiavaili’ili in his letter to the Prime Minister and Police Minister. 

“Accordingly, authorizing the S.P.S. to receive credit for their traffic enforcement activities, will most certainly assist with the Service’s efforts in achieving its revenue generation targets as often reminded by Treasury.” 

Earlier this year, the Minister of the Land Transport Authority, Papali’i Niko Lee Hand said there is a lack of cohesion between the S.P.S. traffic officers and traffic officers from the L.T.A.

“In conducting their duty in monitoring minor traffic offenses, where the instant fines citations are issued, it’s clear under the law for L.T.A that they collect revenues from the fines, not the Police. The Police are supposed to issue citations but the fines collected goes to the L.T.A., he said.

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