Yesterday, Daily Monitor published a story, Traffic operation halted, taxi drivers call off strike. The police had earlier carried out operations, enforcing traffic regulations against errant public service vehicle operators. As such, many operators found themselves getting express penalty tickets. They, however, complained about police impounding their taxis even when they had paid the tickets. They also claimed some of them were being issued fake tickets.
What broke the camel’s back was when the police started removing number plates from the cars whose operators had not paid the tickets. The operators then threatened to strike, but after talks were held between the National Organisation of Trade Unions (NOTU) and the police, it was agreed that the strike be called off.
Calling off such a strike will always come as a relief to the commuters. A strike by taxi operators usually hurts the passengers who might have to walk to wherever they need to go, or part with much more money and fight with many others to use the few taxis that will be on the road. It is, therefore, commendable that the police sat with NOTU and came up with an agreement.
Questions, however, remain. The police have suspended their operations for two months as they address irregularities. Why would they need two months when the law is clear about consequences on those who break the rules? If there are fake tickets as the operators claim, do they require all that time to ensure the fake tickets are destroyed and the correct ones used? Having seen that the reason for the strike was primarily the removing of number plates from the taxis, couldn’t the police keep to impounding the cars?
It is important that when the police go out to keep law and order, they are respected and that those caught breaking the law pay for it. We have seen how previous police operations that had started well have waned and the same problems are back. People drive without wearing seatbelts; others drive while talking on the phone or worse still sending a message; others drive in the wrong lanes or shoulders or at the wrong speed. Where the police were once vigorous and clamped down on the culprits, they are now lax. This has led to terrible driving, which in some cases has led to loss of property and worse, loss of lives.
When the police begin an operation that the law mandates them to carry out, they should keep at it, ensuring they remain within their boundaries and that their officers are not compromised. Otherwise, the same problems that keep surfacing on the roads will continue.
The issue: Traffic operations
Our view: When the police begin an operation that the law mandates them to carry out, they should keep at it, ensuring they remain within their boundaries and that their officers are not compromised. Otherwise, the same problems that keep surfacing on the roads will continue.