Traffic police told not to argue with offenders anymore

With the fallout of road rage and squabbles between motorists and traffic cops becoming more than a regular phenomenon on the city’s busy streets these days, the concerned police officials have finally had enough. After dealing with hundreds of such cases over the years, traffic police are increasingly citing that handling the eruption of law and order hassles is not their task -not to mention the fact that such incidents malign the public image of their department.

Now, to tackle this, special inspector general of police (IG) for law and order, Prabhat Kumar, on Saturday issued a circular to traffic divisions across Maharashtra, directing them to maintain peace in the course of traffic control, adding that cops should no longer argue with offenders as this could create law and order issues. Instead, they have been ordered to let the case be tackled later at a police station.

The order says that the concerned traffic staffers on duty are strictly not to argue, even allowing offenders to leave without being fined. However, on the basis of their vehicle registration numbers, they will be summoned to the appropriate police station later to let the law take its course.

The decision is also an outcome of rising assault incidents, which inadvertently disturb traffic as well.

The order has been addressed to the heads of all traffic divisions in the state, asking them to filter the information down to the traffic cops and other staff involved in traffic control across various cities.

In the missive, Kumar said, “The concerned policeman need not be stubborn about taking action against an offender on the spot. Rather than arguing with the motorist, the staffer should ensure that certain details are noted down, like the model of vehicle, registration number, name of the owner, mobile number, etc. She should be allowed to leave without action being taken, but later, the concerned police station or chowky should issue a summons after which the law can be followed.“

The IG further ordered all heads of department to ensure that the order is followed by on-ground staff.

Assistant police inspector (API) in charge of Warje traffic division, Maheshkumar Sartape, said, “Very often, the anger in arguments leads to the possibility of escalation, which ultimately leads to a criminal case being filed against an offender. The public image of police also faces a major setback because of such street fights. We will try to follow this order according to the instructions given to us as it will certainly help improve our image and save the energy of our officials controlling traffic.“

Pimpri traffic division API Bhimrao Gajare added, “Some miscreants standardly argue with us and try to create a ruckus to get out of being punished.There are several legal remedies to deal with such people. We always try to convince offenders first, but many escalate the situation into a law and order problem, which leaves us with no other option than the criminal case route. I feel that there is also a need to create an independent system to deal with such offenders after issuing summons to a PS.“

A V Awad, inspector in-charge of Shivajinagar traffic division, reacted, “Now, we will be able to concentrate more on traffic control. Law and order issues increase our work and leave our aim unfulfilled. By issuing summons, fines will also get collected efficiently.We welcome this order and will implement it from Sunday itself. Our constables, especially younger ones, will be told to avoid scuffles.“

However, he added, “It is also the duty of disciplined citizens to co-operate and not engage in unnecessary arguments over ego issues. If anybody has any objection, she can take a memo and visit a traffic division for clarifications. Citizens will also have to be informed about the new system.“

On-ground officials seem to find the new development positive. A traffic constable at Bal Gandharva Chowk told Mirror, “Some specific motorists and bikers often engage in squabbles with us. Generally, we try to avoid arguments with such people and allow them to go without a fine. But, when they use abusive and foul language, a reaction is naturally instigated. Still, we do try and avoid fights.“

Another constable directing vehicles at Sancheti Bridge Chowk said, “We are also human beings and have emotions like anger. Some offenders even try to overpower us and flee without paying a fine. Then, law and order problems obviously arise while trying to catch them. The new order may restrict us from reacting to minor situations, which is good -but what if the offender creates a similar ruckus at the police station or chowky? The order needs to address that as well.“

ROAD RAGE RISING

According to traffic police records, as many as 47 cases were registered by cops against motorists under Section 353 (assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of his duty) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in 2015. Most cases had witnessed arguments leading to fights between motorists and cops. In some cases, the attempt to stop offenders earned policemen injuries; in others, cops were hit or dragged along by vehicles attempting to go through a traffic signal.
Source : Pune Mirror

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