Po­lice here and there

Kuwait Times - - LOCAL - By Talal Al-Ghan­nam lo­cal@kuwait­times.net

Good morn­ing my dear and hon­or­able broth­ers and sis­ters, and I wish you all the best of health. In this ar­ti­cle, I would like to shed some light on the role of po­lice­men and traf­fic de­part­ments in Kuwait com­pared with the United States. We all know that po­lice­men are there to pro­tect, safe­guard and work on im­pos­ing law on all with­out dis­crim­i­na­tion.

How­ever, we all no­tice some fall­backs and neg­li­gence com­mit­ted by some po­lice­men here in Kuwait per­ti­nent to re­spect of oth­ers, es­pe­cially ex­pa­tri­ates, and law en­force­ment on all with­out be­ing in­flu­enced by wasta (con­nec­tion) which is tear­ing the so­ci­ety apart.

When an ex­pa­tri­ate drives his or her car on roads in ar­eas mostly pop­u­lated by Kuwaitis, and par­tic­u­larly the help­less taxi driv­ers, some of them get un­wanted ha­rass­ment even when they abide by the law com­pletely. When an ex­pa­tri­ate gets pulled over on the side of the road and is ap­proached by traf­fic po­lice­men, some of­fi­cers in this case tend to find fault with that poor per­son’s car and try to search for the slight­est car de­fect if he could not de­tect any vi­o­la­tion in terms of speed limit, not fas­ten­ing the seat belt or dura­bil­ity of the ve­hi­cle. When pulling an ex­pa­tri­ate over, many po­lice­men tend to be harsh, dis­re­spect­ful and never want to lis­ten to the other side’s plea. At least the ‘vi­o­la­tor’ must know his or her vi­o­la­tion be­fore sign­ing the ci­ta­tion, but in this case, no mercy is given, and he or she must ac­cept it with­out hes­i­ta­tion.

In the United States, when any per­son is pulled over for what­ever vi­o­la­tion, he or she would be ap­proached by the traf­fic po­lice­man who starts the con­ver­sa­tion with a smile and a greet­ing, fol­lowed by an ex­pla­na­tion of the vi­o­la­tion com­mit­ted and an ad­vice for non-rep­e­ti­tion. When I was there, I had never en­coun­tered any sit­u­a­tion where my car’s reg­is­tra­tion got re­voked or my driver’s li­cense got taken away for a very sim­ple ci­ta­tion.

In Kuwait, you see many po­lice­men sit­ting in the early hours of the day in­side their cars that are parked un­der bridges sup­pos­edly to mon­i­tor the flow of traf­fic and pur­suit those reck­less driv­ers. How­ever, the ma­jor­ity of them would sit in their air-con­di­tioned pa­trol cars play­ing with their smart­phones and not even look­ing at the road or those who are driv­ing ma­ni­a­cally.

Last year, I was driv­ing one day at around 6:30 am go­ing to work and I saw a mini­van zigzag­ging be­tween lanes at high speed. I quickly stopped my car near a pa­trol ve­hi­cle that was parked un­der a bridge and knocked on the win­dow to wake the po­lice­man up as he was asleep, and told him to chase that speed­ing van. He got up, wiped his eyes, started the siren and chased the wrong car. I am not say­ing this to be­lit­tle the po­lice­men’s courage and ac­com­plish­ments, but I am say­ing this to awaken the minds of the author­i­ties that there are some of their work­ers who do not ap­pre­ci­ate the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties be­ing shoul­dered on them, and need to be pun­ished.

In Kuwait, when a reck­less driver gets chased by po­lice, he can eas­ily run away from their sight be­cause some of the po­lice­men here do not have the ad­e­quate ca­pac­ity to ap­pre­hend vi­o­la­tors. For ex­am­ple, he­li­copters that mon­i­tor the flow of traf­fic and con­tin­u­ously keep spot­ting the vi­o­la­tors or reck­less driv­ers till they are ap­pre­hended.

I watched a po­lice chase on YouTube and be­came amazed by the so­phis­ti­cated equip­ment used by the US po­lice to ar­rest and pur­suit vi­o­la­tors. Let us dream that one day the Kuwaiti po­lice force would be as ef­fi­cient and strong as that of the US.

Till the next ar­ti­cle in­sha Al­lah

KUWAIT: Kuwait Mu­nic­i­pal­ity in­spec­tors con­fis­cated five tons of ex­pired food dur­ing a re­cent crack­down on ware­houses in Shuwaikh and Rai.

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