A new automated system that allows New Zealand Police to access NZ Transport Agency driver licence photos went live yesterday.
Timely access to driver licence photos will improve Police’s ability to identify the people they interact with, and reduce the risk of offenders avoiding enforcement action.
“New Zealanders may be surprised to learn that previously when we ran a check against someone’s driver licence we couldn’t see the photo,” says Assistant Commissioner Road Policing, Sandra Venables.
Police will be able to immediately check the identity of drivers in cases where a driver fails to produce their driver licence.
Access to the photo will reduce opportunities for unlicensed, disqualified, or suspended drivers to pass themselves off as legitimate licence holders.
Driver licence photos will also assist Police to identify a person where necessary in other situations, such as when a person is disorderly or committing an offence.
“This information will make it easier for us to do our jobs, and will ultimately help to keep people safe.”
Until 2017, Police required a person’s written consent or a warrant to access a driver licence photo.
An amendment in 2017 to the Land Transport Act 1998 authorises Police to access driver licence photos for a law enforcement purpose.
Access under the law change was previously on a case by case basis.
“The new automated system replaces a manual process and makes the information available to frontline officers 24/7.”
This work, referred to as the Progressive Steps Project, is part of the response to the Government Inquiry into the Smith/Traynor incident.