It has come to the Union’s attention that the Department’s ‘Senior Legal Officer’ is issuing memoranda to Zone Commanders, who are in turn forwarding them to the relevant station, regarding traffic infringements by NSWFB vehicles. These are usually speed camera or red light camera infringements, which not surprisingly, are almost always triggered whilst responding under light and siren to an incident.
The Department’s Senior Legal Officer’s memo is remarkable for its ridiculously drawn out procedure. Rather than management checking with the Communications section to see of the vehicle in question was in fact responding to an incident, and then writing directly to the NSW Police Force to have the penalty notice withdrawn, the memo instead requires the driver to first jump through a number of needless hoops (including locating a JP) and sending it all back to the Senior Legal Officer within 14 days.
Frankly, these incident-related infringement’s should be dealt with by the Department without the need for our members to be involved at all. If, however, the infringement occurred other than through the course of responding to an incident (eg, when returning from a call), then the driver is liable for the infringement and does need to follow the steps set out in the memo. The point is that management can and should verify if an incident was being responded to before writing to our members.
Members who receive a Penalty Notice memo are therefore instructed to check whether the circumstances of the infringement and, provided it is certain that the infringement occurred during the course of responding to an incident under lights and siren, to ignore the Senior Legal Officer’s memo altogether. Any member who is questioned over their failure to return the requested paperwork should refer management to this notice, and contact the Union immediately.