A senior Auckland police officer is denying a leaked email of his outlining a “minimum expectation” for traffic tickets is proof of a quota.

The August 12 email from Waitemata road policing Superindendent John Kelly says each full-time equivalent highway patrol officer is expected to issue 1420 tickets a year.

It says in bold type that the figures are “the minimum expectation”, the Weekend Herald reported today.

Mr Kelly’s email says officers should write 560 speeding tickets a year, 130 for alcohol-related offences, 110 for restraint offences (mainly seatbelts and carseats), 220 for dangerous and careless driving and 400 for high-risk driving.

However, Mr Kelly said the figures were averages only and denied there was a quota.

“There’s nothing that says, `You will by God go out there and write out 25 tickets an hour for speeding’ or anything like that.

Police Commissioner Howard Broad has told police that individual performance targets for officers could not be set, but Mr Kelly said performance measures across groups could be set.

“That’s all it was intended to do – to say, `Look, I want your team focused on these high-risk offences’.”

National Party police spokesman Chester Borrows said quotas were not a good way to target the road toll.

“What running a quota does is concentrate on getting tickets and it doesn’t concentrate on harm reduction,” he told the Weekend Herald. “Police will give tickets to people where it’s easy to catch them rather than where the real fear of death or injury is.”

ACT leader Rodney Hide said the Government had turned police into “tax gatherers” and were more worried about collecting revenue than catching criminals.

Police Association president Greg O’Connor disagreed with Mr Hide, saying traffic tickets helped change the way drivers behaved.

But he said the email confirmed the existence of quotas, which he said were wrong because they impacted on police discretion.

“Every police officer knows that police have quotas and wryly smile whenever they see senior police stand up and say they don’t.”

A spokesman for Police Minister Annette King said she maintained the line she took two years ago that she didn’t support quotas.