Crossing Cambodia

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Law enforcement (?)

There is more fall out from last week's mini riot whereby 'a mob retaliated against the traffic police'. In today's (February 13, 2007) Cambodia Daily there is one article and one letter to the editor by Phnom Penh resident Ngay Somealea. The former:
Until traffic laws are explained, mobs will keep attacking police

'... One week ago, I was pulled over by traffic police at the corner of Monivong Boulevard as I was turning in the wrong direction [what?]... the police asked for our identity cards and money. I noticed that the police can ask for any amount of money if motorists want to go on their way. ... I admit I was driving in the wrong direction [if you know you are wrong, then why do it?], but there should be clear and specific fines applied to everyone.'

Now there's a revolutionary thought: Clear? Every one? Where have we heard this advise before? Compare with what Crossing Cambodia wrote 4 days back:
'... The traffic police on the other hand have trouble apprehending offenders but have little legal back-up in the form of clear laws with clear defined fines/penalties, so they just ask what they feel like for penalties for not even clear offensives.'
Do we have copyright problems? Or is it so obvious? Well,let's let our letter writer conclude:
'Tin Praseur, municipal traffic police chief, said in the article that this is the first time a mob has rallied against the officers. I feel it may not be the last.'
Well said and Mr. Tin Praseur agrees apparently see article (which hopefully will be linked in the coming days):
'Riot Has Phnom Penh Seeking More Traffic Police

[He] said Monday that he has sought permission to deploy more officers on the streets.'
In the west it is political correct to advocate more police on the streets. Why would he need permission to put more police on the streets? Furthermore the article claims the police have questioned the main culprits and are seeking
'... a public apology and compensation for the damage [valued @ ?].'
Handicap International wade into the debate again by contributing
'... road safety requires quality law enforcement, not just large quantity of officers.'
But what about catching the offenders? If there are no officers on the road, there will be little or no effect at all, that's what policing worldwide has revealed.
'Police should focus on apprehending dangerous drivers rather than stopping people for not having license plates, she added.'
Then the obligatory opposition parliamentarian (does the ruling opinion have no (differing) opinion?):
'... the government should use state media to educate, [blah, blah] and that traffic police should enforce these rules- not just take money from drivers.'
Fines and enforcing them are instrumental to improving many of not all road safety issues. No pain, no gain.
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