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xxxxxxxxxxx of Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Source: citinewsroom.com

War Against Indiscipline: Police blame civilians for road infractions, defend use of sirens

Most of the road violations which cost the country so much, ironically happen in the full glare of police officers situated at vantage intersections to enforce the traffic regulations.

One tends to wonder whether the police have become helpless in dealing with these offences because they’re also culpable.

As part of Citi FM and Citi TV’s campaign against road infractions, dubbed the War Against Indiscipline (#WAI), the spotlight has been placed on the Police who, in an interesting twist, are also pointing accusing fingers at civilians.

Some Ghanaians on the streets of Accra, spoke to Citi News about this development, arguing that those who are mandated to enforce these laws are sometimes the very people who regularly fall foul of the law.

Some cited instances where police officers and personnel of other security agencies, are seen violating road traffic regulations.

But some police officers disagree. They say they have always discharged their duties diligently.

One of them said, “to me as a police officer, I don’t believe that. This is because if care is not taken, you can endanger your own life. If the traffic light goes red, you have to wait for other vehicles to pass, else any oncoming vehicle can run into the car.”

“Policemen are never indisciplined but it is because the public doesn’t respect the police. That is why they see every activity of the police as weird. The fact the police operational car has passed the red light with the siren on doesn’t mean it is indisciplined. If the police puts on their siren to clear the road to get to their duty point on time, it is not indiscipline. The indiscipline is where the civilians themselves drive carelessly and speed unnecessarily on the road”, another said.

The hierarchy of the Ghana Police Service also appears to disagree with the view held by some members of the public.

Director of Public Affairs of the Ghana Police Service, Superintendent Sheila Kessie Abayie-Buckman has told Citi News about measures instituted to deal with personnel and members of the public who flout road traffic regulations.

“I can’t sit here and say that it has come to my attention that police officers own commercial motorbikes. I have to refer to the statistics in the unit that are handling such cases. But I can tell you on authority that if any police officer is found to commercialize motorbikes as opposed to what the law permits, he will have to face the law just like any other person. The public should report so that we can all get help get rid of people who decide not to follow the law.”

The facts

The use of unlicensed motorbikes for either commercial or personal purposes, disregard for traffic light rules, and the decision by pedestrians to choose unapproved intersections over footbridges and approved walkways are just a few of the daily acts of indiscipline on our roads.

These illegalities occur on a daily basis and have contributed to many road accidents.

The number of commercial vehicles involved in accidents in that year also registered a 9.25% increase from 2,604 in 2017 to 2,845 in 2018.

Currently, Ghana spends an estimated $230 million annually treating injuries and fatalities caused by road accidents. In 2018, there was an 8.3% increase in road traffic accident cases, from 5,145 to 5,573.

Pedestrian knockdowns recorded a 6% increase in 2018 as a total of 1,327 pedestrians were reported to have been knocked down, compared to 1,412 in 2017.