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Loss of Moral Authority in Police

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Governance

I saw the following scene on my way to work. I was driving along Chord road. At one of the intersections I stopped at a signal which was also being manned by a policeman. While I had stopped, a motorcyclist from the other direction ran a red light right in front of the cop.

The cop was angry - but what could he do ? All he did was try to slap the rider on his back with a ream of papers he had in his hand. The rider just swore at him and drove off. Cop could do nothing.

This is the fundamental problem. Drivers violate all possible laws but the Police dont enforce them - except for the helmet one. I have no understanding of this. In this case, the policeman was trying to do something but he couldnt - and the driver knew it. The only solution is to have two policemen - and NO SYMPATHY. 

Most of the time the violators are doing it for no good reason and no clear benefit except for momentary convenience.  A very common violation is going the wrong way around a circle - even if they want to go straight.  Or turning on to the right side of the street and then wading through oncoming traffic. Or stopping several feet in to an intersection thereby blocking cross traffic from moving smoothly. Why do it ? No good reason - simply indifference and the fact that there are no consequences. The usual answer is that `next time' they wont do this.  Of course its always `next time'.

The problem is that even if the cops catch them they let them go with a warning. I think the only solution to all of this is strict enforcement of the rules. By allowing this to happen - and by taking small bribes etc. - the police have completly lost thier moral authority and perhaps its one of the reasons why traffic is so chaotic in Banaglore.

Comments

idontspam's picture

Waving cops of Bengaluru

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I have meaning to write for a long time about the "waving cops of Bengaluru". They just wave at the traffic as thought their waving solves problems. If there are violations immediately they turn away from the scene.

I would first blame BBMP for preparing such ambigious & un-engineered roads that the driver in front defines the lane not the markings on the road. Having said that the enforcement is so lax that there is no fear of being punished. Drivers constantaly ride on the wrong side even if there is a hard divider.

The only solution is to fine heavily and has to be done continously till the habits change. We have allow bad practices to become habits now we have to change, there is no other shortcut.

psaram42's picture

  Some time back I jumped a

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Some time back I jumped a signal and the cop returned my 100 Rs fine as I was a senior citizen. However this time yesterday the cop did not. On the other hand he commented about a senior citizen jumping signal. I have determined not to violate any more. 

rs's picture

This is exactly the problem.

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This is exactly the problem. I dont understand why its okay - in his book - for anyone to justifyably jump a signal. I think at some level he is not thinking about the consequences - sure, this time nothing happened - but it could be the case that someone - even a senior citizen - could jump a red light and cause a fatal accident.

This misplaced sympathy is the problem. The cop is once again thinking of a very short term. Sure, in the short term the pain of paying the fine of Rs. 100 exists. But in the long term this kind of permissiveness could result in the same senior citizen, or any person - being killed by someone else violating the same signal - or some other traffic law.

I also think Rs 100 is too small a fine for something like running a red light. Most people will pay it and forget it - its about the price of 1.3 litres of petrol so most drivers will be able to comfortably absorb it. If it was a 1000 rupees it would hurt. And then the driver will remember that the next time he violates.

I can speak from personal experience. A few years ago I got a drink driving violation  - perhaps unfairly as it had been several hours after I drank and the results of the breathalizer were not clear, but nevertheless I was fined. I paid the fine - around 1000 rupees. Ever since then I havent drunk and driven. Partly because of the realization that it is stupid though perhaps largely because I dont want to pay the fine again. So I make all the efforts to avoid it.

At the end of the day - there has to be a negative association with a violation - otherwise it has not effect. No enforcement, or a small fine, does not cause enough of a negative feeling and so the violators continue to violate. This has to change.

Apart from the positive effects of reducing violators - this will also have the effect of providing more money to pay for traffic cops, enforcement and infrastructure. Its a model used the world over -  I cannot understand why Bangalore doesnt implement it. In Chicago, for example, the traffic fines are not collected by the Department of Transportation but by the Department of Revenue. Of course Bangalore doesnt use simple solutions that exist elsewhere ( overpasses, underpasses, circles  and footpaths ) for other problems we have - they come up with their own unique `solutions' ( Cauvery Magic box, KR Circle, Cantonment Circle ! ) so one can hardly expect the city fathers to have a different view in this case.

 

 

psaram42's picture

  After paying the fine we

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After paying the fine we saw a movie at Garuda Mall. They showed a Garuda mall sponsored add about the dangers of jumping the signal. It was good and fortified my resolve to jump the signal no more. 

Perhaps the police have discretionary powers to decide on penalizing or not.  He noted my vehicle number and name on his balck berry, which can be recorded on the net instantly. Once the violations cross a number your driver’s license gets cancelled. With Unique ID it is much easier to track an individual like me.

Drunkun driving attracts much hevier dis-incentive something like Rs 5000/- However this can lead to big corruption.

Now a days police are busy patrolling during early morning hours in connection with chain snatching incidences, I was told. 

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