Traf­fic po­lice spell out their role

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - ANALYSIS - Snr Asst Comm Isaac Tayengwa

I AM the head of the Traf­fic Branch of Po­lice; deputised by three as­sis­tant com­mis­sion­ers who are re­spon­si­ble for op­er­a­tions, crime and ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Our man­date is to pro­tect life and prop­erty through the en­force­ment of the Road Traf­fic Act and re­lated leg­is­la­tion.

We de­rive this from Sec­tion 219 of our Con­sti­tu­tion.

As a branch, we have come up with an 11-point com­mit­ment plan which is aimed at im­prov­ing our re­la­tions with the pub­lic as fol­lows:

i. We will not abuse our author­ity by en­gag­ing in cor­rup­tion;

ii. We shall ex­hibit ap­pro­pri­ate po­lice cus­tomer care prac­tices;

iii. We shall not with­hold mo­torists’ driv­ing li­cences with­out the writ­ten con­sent of the owner;

iv. We shall use dis­cre­tion ju­di­ciously and be sen­si­tive to mo­torists’ gen­uine plights;

v. We shall col­lect no more or less than what is pro­vided in the na­tional de­posit fines sched­ule;

vi. We shall not de­tain mo­torists at road­block sites un­nec­es­sar­ily;

vii. We shall not in­con­ve­nience law-abid­ing mo­torists;

viii. We shall not cause con­ges­tion or ac­ci­dents our­selves dur­ing traf­fic en­force­ments, but fa­cil­i­tate smooth flow of traf­fic and pedes­tri­ans;

ix. We shall all work to­wards build­ing trust be­tween the po­lice and the gen­eral pub­lic;

x. We shall al­ways dis­play our name tags so that the pub­lic know who they are deal­ing with; and

xi. We shall be trans­par­ent, ac­count­able and re­spect­ful in all our deal­ings with our col­lec­tive au­di­ence.

Let me take this op­por­tu­nity to ex­press our grat­i­tude for the feed­back we re­ceive from the pub­lic as they help us to make cor­rec­tions and im­prove our ser­vice de­liv­ery.

Ha­rass­ment of mo­torists

In­deed, we have been re­ceiv­ing th­ese com­plaints, and there are a num­ber of mea­sures we are un­der­tak­ing.

We are con­tin­u­ally train­ing our of­fi­cers in traf­fic leg­is­la­tion and cus­tomer care so that they can in­ter­pret the law well and ex­er­cise ap­pro­pri­ate cus­tomer care prac­tices.

We also con­duct lec­tures and meet­ings to com­mu­ni­cate the ex­pec­ta­tions of the ZRP inas­far as traf­fic en­force­ment and in­ter­ac­tion with the pub­lic are con­cerned.

Specif­i­cally on cus­tomer care, the Pub­lic Re­la­tions De­part­ment also chips in and con­ducts cus­tomer care work­shops for our mem­bers in all prov­inces.

Fur­ther­more, com­plaints against po­lice are thor­oughly and pro­fes­sion­ally in­ves­ti­gated as we value feed­back.

CBD chaos

The level of in­dis­ci­pline on the roads by some mo­torists, es­pe­cially com­muter om­nibus driv­ers is quite dis­turb­ing.

We have also seen a per­cent­age of other pri­vate mo­torists dur­ing peak hours also driv­ing dan­ger­ously and reck­lessly. They drive against one way streets, go through red traf­fic lights, avoid in­ter­sec­tions and over­take dan­ger­ously, caus­ing se­ri­ous and fa­tal ac­ci­dents in the pro­cess.

We do traf­fic en­force­ments, but the ma­jor chal­lenge we face is that when you en­force dur­ing peak hours, you cause con­ges­tion. We are, there­fore, re­sort­ing to record­ing the traf­fic in­fringe­ment and record­ing the regis­tra­tion num­ber plates of the of­fend­ing ve­hi­cles and trac­ing the own­ers through Cen­tral Ve­hi­cle Registry.

Other driv­ers drive ve­hi­cles with­out num­ber plates.

How­ever, we started an op­er­a­tion on October 1 to weed out all ve­hi­cles with­out num­ber plates. We want to urge mo­torists to have ve­hi­cles reg­is­tered in the cur­rent own­ers’ names to avoid be­ing ar­rested. Plate­less ve­hi­cles should not be on the roads; we are im­pound­ing them. Mo­torists should also be warned that we are record­ing all the of­fences they are com­mit­ting and the long arm of the law will catch up with them.

That in­ci­dent (where a Harare man was killed by touts at a rank) was quite dis­turb­ing and re­ally touch­ing. I attended the scene and saw the sob­bing wife of the vic­tim, Methias Gore (64) of Glen No­rah, Harare.

I re­mem­ber Se­nior As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Char­ity Charamba, our spokesper­son, sobbed as well.

We im­me­di­ately banned the rank­ing of buses and tout­ing at the point.

That was fol­lowed by “Op­er­a­tion Against Touts” where a num­ber of touts were ar­rested and taken to court.

So far, we have ar­rested more than 600 touts, and some have been jailed for three months.

We want to thank the Ju­di­ciary for such de­ter­rent sen­tences.

We are col­lab­o­rat­ing with other stake­hold­ers such as City of Harare, the Ve­hi­cle In­spec­tion De­part­ment, Cen­tral Ve­hi­cle Registry, Road Mo­tor Trans­port in the op­er­a­tion “Sun­shine City” which is also tar­get­ing touts, Mishika-shika and gen­eral law­less­ness on our roads.

We are also en­gag­ing pub­lic trans­port as­so­ci­a­tions not to em­ploy touts and avoid pick­ing and drop­ping pas­sen­gers at un­des­ig­nated points.

Com­mut­ing peace-lov­ing Zim­bab­weans are also urged to go to des­ig­nated points to board trans­port. It is an of­fence for one to in­ter­fere with the free move­ment of peo­ple and ve­hi­cles on the pave­ment and on the road.

We also note with con­cern an in­crease in the num­ber of ac­ci­dents in­volv­ing pedes­tri­ans.

We urge mo­torists to re­spect pedes­trian cross­ings. Pedes­tri­ans should be very ob­ser­vant and con­scious and en­sure the road is clear and safe be­fore cross­ing. Last week alone, 15 pedes­tri­ans were killed on our roads.


We did not ban the use of spikes and let me ex­plain.

The in­creased use of spikes was in a bid to con­tain un­ruly be­hav­iour by a cer­tain sec­tion of mo­torists. They were ram­pantly dis­obey­ing po­lice in­struc­tions to stop. Dis­turbingly, some mo­torists were de­lib­er­ately run­ning over po­lice of­fi­cers. We lost a num­ber of po­lice of­fi­cers due to this way­ward and cruel be­hav­iour whilst oth­ers were in­jured.

How­ever, we are a peo­ple’s po­lice ser­vice. We lis­ten to the con­cerns raised by peo­ple over the man­ner in which the spikes were be­ing used.

We de­cided that spikes be used spar­ingly where nec­es­sary. Here, the spikes are set to re­strict mo­torists from way­ward be­hav­iour or evad­ing po­lice check-points.

We, there­fore, ap­peal to mo­torists to obey po­lice in­struc­tions for the sake of or­der­li­ness on the roads. We need to work to­gether for the safety and se­cu­rity of all road-users.

Mushika-shika Op­er­a­tion “Sun­shine City” has seen over 400 “mushika-shika” ve­hi­cles im­pounded. Some are at Harare Cen­tral Stores and oth­ers at the Ve­hi­cle In­spec­tion De­part­ment.

We are work­ing with other stake­hold­ers to bring san­ity to Harare. The op­er­a­tion to stop mishika-shika is also be­ing done in other cities, and ve­hi­cles are be­ing im­pounded.

We were given ad­di­tional per­son­nel and are de­ploy­ing at busy in­ter­sec­tions to en­sure free flow of traf­fic. How­ever, mo­torists need to be pa­tient and give each other way like they do in other coun­tries. It is also the re­spon­si­bil­ity of lo­cal au­thor­i­ties to en­sure that all traf­fic lights are work­ing at all times. Po­lice can­not cover all the in­ter­sec­tions.

We also urge mo­torists not to en­ter in­ter­sec­tions when the exit is not clear and to ex­er­cise pa­tience. They should also obey po­lice in­struc­tions to avoid con­ges­tion at in­ter­sec­tions.

Elec­tronic Traf­fic Man­age­ment Sys­tem

In­deed, we have al­ready em­braced the Elec­tronic Traf­fic Man­age­ment Sys­tem to im­prove road safety en­force­ments and speed­ily pro­cess tick­ets and pros­e­cu­tion of of­fend­ers.

The sys­tem is be­ing in­tro­duced in phases and started with the use of tick­et­ing de­vices in Harare. In­stead of is­su­ing hand­writ­ten tick­ets, we are us­ing the elec­tronic tick­et­ing sys­tem, which has cash and “swipe” pay­ment plat­forms.

A mo­bile money plat­form will soon be in­cluded.

There are ad­van­tages as­so­ci­ated with the elec­tronic man­age­ment sys­tem; some in­clude: ◆ Min­imis­ing dis­cre­tion which pro­vides op­por­tu­ni­ties for cor­rup­tion; En­hances su­per­vi­sion as the su­per­vi­sor can mon­i­tor the ac­tiv­i­ties of de­ployed per­son­nel from his of­fice; Elec­tronic tick­et­ing de­vices can pro­duce tick­ets quicker than do­ing it man­u­ally; ◆ A speed cam­era has mul­ti­ple func­tions such as speed, red lights, stop lines and bar­rier line in­fringe­ments de­tec­tion. It can do en­force­ment on its own and cap­ture video images of of­fend­ing ve­hi­cles; and · In coun­tries where the sys­tem has been in­tro­duced, road traf­fic ac­ci­dents and fa­tal­i­ties have de­clined dras­ti­cally. Se­nior As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Isaac Tayengwa is the Of­fi­cer Com­mand­ing Na­tional Traf­fic. He wrote this ar­ti­cle for The Sun­day Mail

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