IT is no secret that there are some unscrupulous traffic police officers who pull over motorists to demand bribes when they violate traffic laws. It is not surprising therefore that traffic police is perceived as the most corrupt department in the police force.
In one of his addresses to police officers, President Jakaya Kikwete warned them to refrain from bargaining with suspects, and instead they should take them straight to police stations for interrogation. The president further warned that negotiations between the police officers and offenders create room for corruption.
Indeed, there is no reason why, for instance, traffic police officers should bargain with drivers who violate traffic safety rules. Just like other offenders, such drivers should be arrested and sent to police stations for further questioning.
We are all witness to various incidents where traffic police officers openly ask bribes from drivers before setting the offenders free. In this way we do not see how the traffic police are going to improve traffic safety.
Negligence of drivers is among the major causes of so many accidents in the country, and yet our traffic police officers accept bribes from such reckless drivers to let them continue killing innocent people on the roads. Such cases have contributed very much to the public’s growing distrust of traffic police.
Traffic police officers must co-operate with other authorities to help prevent road accidents by taking to task reckless drivers. They must also be more active in investigating traffic violations. These are the people we have entrusted to manage traffic and make sure people are safe on the roads.
As we have pointed out now and again, this is the time to remove rot and filth in the police force that to most has lost credibility and reputation.
Our plea with the government is that there is need to ensure that the traffic police department is sufficiently funded and fully equipped to enable it work more effectively.
Harsher fines should be imposed on those violating traffic rules and at the same time the current procedure to train drivers and give them driving licenses must also be toughened.
We must say that people are just growing tired of the inaction and insincerity of government officials when they promise to fight corruption.