Purpose: To improve the enforcement of fines by identifying serious fines defaulters as they cross New Zealand borders, and to increase voluntary compliance through publicity about the programme targeted at travellers.
Year commenced: 2006
Features: Data transferred daily by online transfer.
Justice disclosure to Customs: Justice provides serious fine defaulter information for inclusion on Customs' silent alerts' or interception alerts' lists.
Silent alerts are created for fines defaulters who:
have outstanding fines of $1000 or more and
a warrant to arrest (which covers part of the outstanding fines) has been issued.
Silent alert results are transferred to Justice for use in the INZ/Justice Fines Defaulters Tracing Programme (programme 22).
Interception alerts are created for fines defaulters where:
any amount of reparation is owing and a warrant to arrest (which covers part of the reparation outstanding) has been issued or
court-imposed fines of $5000 or more are outstanding and a warrant to arrest (which covers part of the court-imposed fines outstanding) has been issued.
Interception alerts result in travellers being intercepted as they cross the border.
Each Justice fines defaulter record disclosed includes the full name, date of birth, gender and Justice unique identifier number.
Customs disclosure to Justice: For each alert triggered, Customs supplies the full name, date of birth, gender, nationality and presented passport number, along with details about the intended or just completed travel.
|Silent alerts triggered||5,111|
|Individuals subject to silent alerts||2,394|
|Intercept alerts triggered||175|
|Fines had already been paid||6|
|Wrong person identified by the match||17|
|Interception not completed||16|
|Amount under a current time-to-pay arrangement||$121,680|
|Remittals/Alternative sentence imposed||$85,703|
Commentary: There have been modest increases in payments received for fines, reparations, and amounts under a current time-to-pay arrangement.
As at 30 June, there were 3,701 fines defaulters who had interception alerts recorded against their names in Customs records, up from 2,888 last year. There were also 21,267 fines defaulters who had silent alerts recorded, up from 16,596 last year.
In October 2011, Justice implemented new workflow software to help staff manage fines defaulter records. Justice believes the new software is likely to be the reason behind an increase in warrants to arrest being issued, and consequently a 28% increase in fines defaulters recorded on both silent and intercept alert databases.
|Information matching provision||Customs and Excise Act 1996, s.280D|
|Programme type||Locating people|
|Unique identifiers||Personal profile number|
Each day, Justice sends Customs, by encrypted online transfer, details of serious fines defaulters for the purpose of creating 'interception alerts' or 'silent alerts' in the Customs system (CusMod). The most serious cases attract an 'interception alert', which results in the traveller being intercepted at the airport and required to pay (or make an arrangement to pay) their fine or reparation or face arrest. The other cases involve a 'silent alert' which uses information about the traveller for enforcement action after their entry or (re-entry) to the country.
Fines defaulters who have interception alerts recorded in CusMod are those where:
o any amount of reparation is owing and
o a warrant to arrest has been issued and
o the warrant covers at least part of the reparation outstanding;
o court imposed fines greater or equal to $5,000 are outstanding and
o a warrant to arrest has been issued and
o the warrant covers at least part of these court imposed fines.
Silent alerts are created for fines defaulters not subject to an interception alert but meeting the following criteria:
fines equal to or greater than $1,000 are outstanding and
a warrant to arrest has been issued and
the warrant covers at least part of these outstanding fines.
For each fines defaulter, Justice supply Customs with the following information:
|Person profile number||Family name||Given names|
|Date of birth||Gender||Alert type|
As an individual passes through the border, a Customs official scans their passport into the CusMod system. The CusMod matching programme converts details from the passport into an alpha-numeric code for matching against alerts. Alerts are generated for 'A' matches, which require a 91-100% match outcome based on a weighting system. For instance, date of birth and family name each has a percentage attributed to it which add up to 75% towards the overall weighting score.
Matches triggering an interception alert are directed to a Customs official who notifies NZ Police. A police officer conducts an interview with the individual to confirm their identity and that the individual is the same person as the alert, whether outstanding fines exist, and if a warrant to arrest remains in force.
Fines and warrant to arrest information is obtained by phoning the Justice Contact Centre. If the Police are satisfied that the individual is not the person on the alert, they are left to continue on their journey and a report is filed.
If the facts are verified, the individual, through a phone call with a Justice official, is given an opportunity to pay the outstanding amount or to enter into an arrangement to pay. If no payment is made, or arrangement entered into, the Police have discretion to execute the arrest warrant, in which case the individual will be stopped from travelling and brought before a court.
After an interception, the alert is usually removed from CusMod in the next daily update.
Silent alert information is not displayed to Customs staff but is notified electronically to Justice for potential use in the related INZ/Justice Fines Defaulters Tracing Programme. Silent alerts do not result in individuals having their travel interrupted.
|Silent alerts triggered||1,294||1,554||1,821||2,035||4,102|
|Individuals subject to silent alerts||979||1,146||976||1,062||1,808|
|Intercept alerts triggered||87||105||79||97||150|
|Fines had already been paid||1||-||1||1||6|
|Wrong person identified by the match||3||9||5||16||12|
|Interception not completed||-||2||4||16||7|
|Amount under a current time-to-pay|
|Remittals/Alternative sentence imposed||$37,496||$84,812||$115,759||$61,868||$140,458|
Justice suggest the 50% increase in interception alerts triggered in 2010/11 resulted from a large number of new people becoming eligible for the Collection of Fines at Airports initiative following projects to review fines defaulter records.
 A person may trigger more than one intercept alert in a given period.
 Silent alert notifications are sent to Justice for use in the INZ/Justice Fines Defaulters Tracing Programme.
 The number of alerts on arrival or departure will not necessarily equal the total number of people intercepted as a person can trigger multiple alerts in a given period.