New system will identify drink-drive offenders

  • Michael Woodhouse

Police Minister Michael Woodhouse today officially launched the national roll-out of the Booze Bus Biometrics (BBB) system.

The BBB system will enable Police to confirm within minutes, the identities of people in the system that they intend to charge with drink-driving offences, by electronically scanning fingerprints, taking digital photographs and comparing the data to existing Police records.

“Identifying high-risk drivers and recidivist drink-drivers at the roadside means police will be able to respond quickly and appropriately to circumstances, and will ensure alleged offenders are charged appropriately from the outset,” Mr Woodhouse says.

“Alcohol is a factor in around 30 percent of fatal road crashes. The BBB system will provide Police with the necessary tools to take the highest-risk drivers off the road and help to protect the safety of other road users.

“Police have manually taken fingerprints and photographs on the booze buses for several years but this development will make it cleaner, faster and more efficient. “

“It will also reduce the hours of police time which is wasted trying to locate offenders who give false identities.”

BBB system will be installed in all 21 of Police’s booze buses by the end of November. The system was trialled in Wellington for a month in June, during which time, 20 drivers were processed, 18 for impaired driving and two for driving while disqualified. None tried to provide false particulars.

Under the BBB system, Police are only able to keep the data if an offender is convicted.  If no conviction results, the data is destroyed.

“The Government has introduced tougher penalties for serious and repeat drink drivers, and this system builds on that by providing a sensible use of new technology that will help Police do their jobs more effectively.”