On the blog: Working to tackle speeding

Marcus Boorman

Detective Inspector Marcus Boorman started in policing 30 years ago, initially in Victoria Police before joining the AFP in 2006. Over the 30 years, he has worked internationally with the International Deployment Group (IDG), AFP National and ACT Policing.

Detective Inspector Boorman has extensive operational experience in response, investigations and capacity development internationally. He has also been the lead on a number of high profile investigations, including attempted assassinations of heads of state, coronial matters, homicide, arson and organised crime.

Over the course of his career, Detective Inspector Boorman has been awarded eight service medals, including a Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal (Christchurch), a Police Overseas Service Medal (Solomon Islands), and a number of citations including a Commissioners Citation for Hazardous Overseas Service, and a Presidential Commendation for outstanding performance during the investigation into the attempted assassination of the President and Prime Minister in Timor-Leste.      

Detective Inspector Boorman is currently the Officer in Charge of Road Policing where he oversees Road Policing Teams who are dedicated to policing ACT roads.

ACT Policing continues to focus on the rise in speed on our roads, and the blatant disregard these drivers have for other road users. We asked Detective Inspector Boorman what he thinks about the issue and to provide some real life insight into these incidents and talk about the work of the Road Policing teams.

Coming from a background working predominantly in criminal investigative roles for my entire career, I thought ‘how hard can it be working in Road Policing?’ Well, I have to admit there is a lot more to it than I initially anticipated. Traffic law is complex, road trauma and deaths on our roads impact significantly on both police members and the community, and the profile of the work is always under public scrutiny and on the local government’s radar. 

Having been in this role for some time now, it has been a great learning opportunity, but also very challenging and demanding. In amongst the day to day operational management of the portfolio, I spend my days juggling stakeholder engagement, road safety partnerships, engagement with government and community groups, and media commitments.

What I have learnt is Road Policing is not just about enforcement, giving people tickets and the like; it requires much more than that. It has a sharp focus on deterrence, engagement and enforcement. I personally focus on taking a proactive approach to Road Policing through maximising public engagement opportunities and using various partnerships to promote safety on the roads and a need for change in road behaviour.

Speeding continues to be a serious issue for Road Policing. Just this year alone, we have seen the average number of Traffic Infringement Notices issued for speeding per month jump 30 per cent higher than the monthly average for each of the past three years.

We’ve also seen a marked increase in high range speeding offences recently, with people routinely caught travelling at speeds that defy logic – 152km/h in an 80km/h zone, 200km/h in a 90km/h zone, 145km/h in a 100km/h zone, 177km/h in an 80km/h zone.

I’ve said it before many times but it bears repeating - there is simply no excuse for speeding.

For me, anyone that drives a vehicle on the road has a part to play in road safety by doing the right thing. When things go wrong, they go very wrong, but getting that message through has been difficult, especially when it comes to speed. I think that the driving culture needs to change across the board. It’s not acceptable that on average 1200 people die on Australian roads every year; if three 737’s dropped out of the sky in a year there would be public outrage. The sad thing is road deaths are preventable if we all do the right thing.   

Excessive speed is a significant issue on our roads in the ACT, and despite policing efforts we need to do more from a deterrence perspective. This is something I am passionate about and continue to comment on in the media, raise through various channels and continue to push. Seeing it first hand and dealing with it every day is frustrating, but it’s not hard to understand the root cause of these issues. After all, vehicles don’t automatically speed by themselves - it comes down to the person behind the wheel, with their foot on the accelerator. People are just not getting it, and the blatant disregard for their safety and the safety of others just astounds me. Having attended almost every fatal collision in the ACT over the past three years, the majority with speed being a contributing factor, you get more than a little annoyed when having to explain the speeding issue continually.

As part of my role, I will continue to work with both ACT Policing’s executive and local government to discuss and implement strategies to curb this idiotic and dangerous behaviour.

When I reflect on my time as the Officer in Charge of Road Policing what most impresses me is the dedication, commitment and passion of the members within Road Policing and in policing in general. I am as proud today as I was 30 years ago when I graduated to being a police officer, and despite the hurdles we all experience I wouldn’t do anything else.