Police folly - Traffic cops endangering lives
Members of the police force are putting themselves, motorists and others at risk by hiding out in bushes before charging into oncoming traffic in a bid to stop motorists who are speeding on the roads.
Recently, our news team saw several motorists travelling along Marcus Garvey Drive in the Corporate Area make hasty stops in the vicinity of Tinson Pen Aerodrome to avoid hitting traffic cops who appeared from behind bushes and signalled them to stop.
The cops then ushered motorists to a dirt track where they were issued with tickets, warned or just sent on their way outside of the glare of passers-by.
CONTRARY TO INSTRUCTIONS
But head of the Police Traffic Division, Senior Superintendent Calvin Allen, said this was not the way the men and women under his command should act.
"The traffic police and the JCF (Jamaica Constabulary Force) are about professionalism, transparency, and caution. We want to be out there and visible, because that effectively shows our presence and not only increases public safety, but also public confidence in the police," Allen told The Sunday Gleaner.
"We don't bother with hiding behind any bush. We don't operate that way. It is not the policy of the JCF to hide behind any bush and then run out on anybody. That is not something we support. We want our members to be properly positioned," added Allen.
He accepted that appearing suddenly and signalling motorists to stop could put the life of the cops at risk and could also put motorists and passers-by in danger.
"Our members are properly briefed with some basic safety standards, and the stopping of vehicles is a crucial part of that. The whole aspect of indicating someone to stop must be timely and with enough space for the motorist to stop," said Allen.
In the meantime, Allen said that since last year, more than 165,000 traffic tickets have been issued to motorists for breaches of the Road Traffic Act. These offences include motorists not wearing seat belts and exceeding the speed limit.
National Security Minister Robert Montague has since announced an amnesty on traffic tickets to take effect on July 1.
The amnesty will be for 60 days, and persons will be able to pay outstanding tickets without penalty or interest during the period.