A Western Australian senior police officer is under investigation after sending out an email offering a cash prize to any colleague who could issue the most fines.
In the email, South Hedland Sen Sgt Peter Pope told colleagues a $50 cash prize would be given to the officer with the best traffic figures, during the period between October 22 and 30.
According to reports, a tip-off was given to a member of the public from within South Hedland police station about the scheme. The member of the public requested the email through Freedom of Information.
The email encouraged officers to issue as many fines they could during the period when many officers would be away at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Sen Sgt Pope spoke of the expected dry week, saying, “obviously our traffic figures will diminish”.
A spokesperson for the WA Police recently said the concept of offering prizes was not supported by the WA Police, and said the competition did not go ahead. The spokesperson said the email was subject to an internal investigation, while “an officer” was being questioned.
Sen Sgt Pope said in the email it would be too irresponsible to offer alcohol for the prize, saying the winning officer could “relieve the Senior Sergeant of $50”.
The email said all fines would be “weighted”, giving those who were not qualified in certain fields an equal chance of claiming the $50. The email finished with,
“Enter the spirit and have some responsible fun.”
WA Police Union president Russell Armstrong said in a recent Yahoo report the competition seemed harmless.
“The officers are under an enormous amount of pressure to keep their stats up. [Pope’s email] seems like it could have just been a bit of fun but hasn’t gone anywhere.”
We can’t help but wonder if more of this kind of thing goes on and passes by under the radar unnoticed.