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No sting operation this

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Traffic

I swear, I was not trying a sting operation here. Though I do wish our electronic media tried sting operations at these day-to-day levels as well, but they are on to bigger things :)

I like observing these situations though. The 'negotiation' lingers on, hands go in and out of various pockets - driver's license in cop's, wallet out of the 'entrapped', bike key in to the supporting cop. Faces frown, a little bit of sulking and threats later, peace is made. We know all this, but whats the good way of dealing with this stuff? Can you and me do anything to better it? I don't have a problem with harassment. Bribe or not, the 'offender' could learn a lesson. But fining a random guy with torn registration paper, or expired license isn't worth this much time. There are bigger crimes happening on the road that go unnoticed, like speeding (can cause death), driving on the wrong side, overloaded lorries and maxi-cabs, reckless driving. Moreover, this really isn't policing. Its more of random picking just for the sake of it.

[Note: I took this particular picture in Pune]

Comments

City.Zen's picture

Traffic Corruption

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106 users have liked.
Just as military should not be called in to handle city riots and other civilian problems, the police should not be doing traffic duties. In today's world of increasing crimes and violence, the police force needs to be specially trained to handle these more serious problems. Let us outsource traffic handling to security agencies/NCC/Scouts/Home Guards, etc. It will be much cheaper, more efficient, less corruption-prone, etc., etc. Police are corrupt because the bribing starts even before they are inducted. A poor but very fit boy, karate black belt, had applied for a PC's post in Vellore. After the interview, the policemen came to his house to negotiate the price which was 1 lakh. Since he could not afford to pay, he came to Bangalore instead, joined a BPO and is today earning 2.4 lakhs per annum and happier than what he would have been as a PC. Maybe things might improve if we delink the police dept. from the govt., and politicians. Maybe occasional overall supervision can be entrusted to not-so-fit police officers. Are we aware that it does not need a policeman to make the arrest, even a civilian like you and me can do it, if we have the guts and the force to do it? Please correct me if I am wrong here. City Zen
City Zen
tsubba's picture

Stinging RTI style

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RTI exposes corruption in Bangalore City Corporation (ibnlive) N Vikramsimha and Veera Belur, Right To Information (RTI) activists and trustees of the RTI Study Centre, pour over documents from the Bangalore City Corporation to find out where computers worth Rs 3.4 crore purchased in 2005 are. “Physically, the computers are not in existence. The Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) has old computers, which were bought much earlier. Corporation may have 120 divisional offices but they've bought 1,750 pay roll packages, which is ridiculous,” says Vikramsimha. The computers being used at the corporation are easily eight years old. And it has to make do with the ageing machines despite the internal audit report of the corporation mentioning the non-delivery of the systems that were purchased. And it is this report that the RTI is using to press for a Lokayukta enquiry. Also Read: ‘BBMP violated norms in computer purchase’(Hindu) the BBMP had purchased computers worth Rs. 3.39 crore without bringing it to the notice of the BBMP Expert Committee. No entries were made in the stock register in this regard, they alleged. World Bank funds reserved for development work were misused. The Chief Auditor of BBMP had, in his report in 2006, brought the malpractices to the notice of then BBMP Commissioner. But no action was taken, they alleged. The BBMP was now trying to cover up malpractices by taking steps that had to be followed prior to purchase, they said.
Vijay's picture

Good Catch

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89 users have liked.
There have been so many occasions where I have seen the lorry guys slip some moolah into a cops hand... I dont think someone like Tehelka will be interested in this as this does not have enough "oomph" value
Vasanth's picture

Stopping Bribe is very difficult

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105 users have liked.
Stopping policemen from bribing is very difficult. I see lot of police do not doing any other duty other than waiting to catch hold of someone and do negotiation with him to get the bribe. How can this be stopped?
City.Zen's picture

Keep the police hands out of the kitty

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I repeat the first comment on this topic "Just as military should not be called in to handle city riots and other civilian problems, the police should not be doing traffic duties. In today's world of increasing crimes and violence, the police force needs to be specially trained to handle these more serious problems. Let us outsource traffic handling to security agencies/NCC/Scouts/Home Guards, etc. It will be much cheaper, more efficient, less corruption-prone, etc., etc." City Zen
City Zen
tsubba's picture

privatize enforcement

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Shastri is out of town, so I am posting his enforcement idea that he blogged here.
The solution is as simple as it sounds. Just privatize the traffic regulation.
How it works is, I - being a private contractor- take up the ‘rights’ to monitor certain area, say M.G road (the same way BMP used to auctions parking lots). I pay the government certain money for giving me the right. Then the government tells me “see, you can go catch and fine all the people out their risking their and others lives, but you can not fine anyone without first having a photo/video of them violating the rule”. Then I invest some more money to hire people, equipment (traffic cameras, speed radars etc). Then I go install the infrastructure on MG road and I will record on my camera every guy who crossed the yellow line or jumped the signal or the like. I catch that guy at the next junction, and tell him ‘Dude, we have you on the tape crossing the yellow line. That would be 2000 Rs fine. Will that be fine?’.
Now do you see how it works? The government is happy because it gets more revenue than before. The contractor is happy because he makes more money than he invested, the police are happy because now they can concentrate on really important things like channeling traffic to help VIPs go to a dinner party, the average commuter is happy because the traffic is smoother and he know he cant be implicated without genuine evidence. The only person who feels sad is may be the guy who paid those 2000 Rs. But 4 out of 5 is still a good score.
What do you think?


Naveen's picture

A great idea, but it will have it's share of problems

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84 users have liked.
Your idea to privatize monitoring of traffic for compliance with rules sounds great. In this country, people find ways & means to manipulate any system to fleece govt coffers, & this system may open new avenues. What is to prevent these "appointed cops" from taking bribes from offenders to pocket the money, off the record ? The errant driver would be too pleased to pay a bribe to pay lesser, say 1000rs & also, repetitive offenses can officially lead to cancellation of his license -- The same as has been happening all along with "real cops". Since these "cops" would have to justify their jobs, some "official" collections would also be "recorded", & contractors may also make profits. The tender rates may go high & govt may also make more money since the "business" may become "lucrative", but govt & the public will soon realize that the appointed "traffic cops" are the only ones laughing, with black money, & they will also become a feared lot at intersections. The contractor/s may also manipulate videos to collect more money, such as in cases involving the likes of the "BMW case" in Delhi, where the whole case was rigged. All said & done, this system may work better than it is doing now with cops simply too few, lethargic & inefficient.
silkboard's picture

Technology to help?

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Every other mobile phone these days has a camera, so every crowded intersection is bound to have a few snappers. Traffic Police does have a 'traffic warden' program wherein you and me can get minimal training and as I understand it, 'volunteer' our personal time to police some traffic. What if cellphone-camera holders could be encouraged to indulge in some activism. Examples: - snap a cop engaged with a biker, mail the picture to DCP to check if there is a fine receipt with that vehicles number - snap red light jumpers and wrong-side-drivers, number plate must be visible. I don't know if cellphone pictures would be admissible as proof in a court of law. Pictures can be fudged and manufactured in this digital world. But at the same time, technology is almost here (match picture with location information of photo-taking camera phone and the offender's phone or vehicle) to sort of turn each of us into a cop. Forget camera phones, but I do think having GPS and speed tracking device in vehicle should help. Privacy issues come in the play here. But there is no reason why all BMTC buses and BPO cabs can't have them. Of course, bribe taking cops would be around, but only as long as we rely only on them to 'observe' and 'record' the 'crimes'. Or, till a log of their daily activities (what they all during any given day) is not easily available for the tax-paying public to see.
City.Zen's picture

Privatize Enforcement

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104 users have liked.
Thanks TS and Shas3 for sculpting the fine details of how privatization can work better. A similar idea has been bugging me for a long time. In spite of liberalization, India, especially in the North, still has considerable unemployed men - which means availability of manpower. At the same time, Bangalore roads are so dirty, in spite of BMP's Suvarna Karnataka drive. Even affluent people do not have a civic sense. Case in point, Kiran Shaw, when she was living in the posh 3rd Block, Koramangala, she personally talked to her neighbours, appealing to them to systematize their home garbage disposal. Nobody cared and finally she left the area itself to settle down near to her company. Our CMs and others have talked about making Bangalore a Singapore. The most effective way to do this, I feel, is to appoint 2-3 watchmen for each main road ( can be extended later to cover side roads too) who will monitor the cleanliness of the roads and catch the litterers on video, warn the first time and penalize thereafter. I understand that Singapore even 4-5 decades ago strict laws where even spitting on the street was fined. Rules become effective only when strictly enforced. This will also reduce graffiti and posters menace. However, here we may have some problem in financing the project. BMP has already said it has resources crunch. Could we look at making the corporates sponsor a few roads each? City Zen
City Zen
shas3n's picture

Privte cops

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City.Zen and Naveen, thanks for agreeing with me and seeing a few potential problems. I agree that we have a bad history of bribes and other 'bypass' means of law enforcement. I see your point when you say what would prevent this 'private cop' from taking bribes. The answer is in the economics. Since it is a private contractor who is paying the government for the privilege and at the mean time trying to maximize the profit on his investment, he would not think twice before firing a 'private cop' for taking a bribe. For a government employee the risk for taking the bribe is minimal, but for a private employee, it can mean the termination of his job. This is the reason you have to bribe at every stage to get your money from a Government Treasury and almost never ever need to bribe at a private bank. The incentives for operation are different for different organizations and people. About the private cops being the feared ones, thats the exact idea. In fact I would like people to be petrified before violating a rule, even when there is no cop in sight. Yes, I agree with you on the possibility of these new found cops turning into Frankenstein and starting to manipulate things. That needs to be taken care of while drafting the contract between the Govt and the contractor. Something like 'someone is penalized due to manipulated evidence, the CONTRACTOR pays a hefty compensation'. Or may be this can be brought under consumer courts. -Shastri

-Shastri

cyberkraze's picture

Why take bribe?

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The most common answer one hears is, "policemen get very bad salaries". As per the American serials we see on the tube, the policemen in US, get around 3K$ per month, which is probably half the salary of an average software professional and as per the media in India, an average policeman gets 10-15K rupees per month, which is probably close to half the salary of an average software professional in Bangalore. Since the ratios are more or less similar, this almost rules out low salaries as being the prime reason. Why then are Indian policemen (and the rest of the government coterie) more prone to taking bribes than in a country like US?
tsubba's picture

not really

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sure, might be 36k/annum for joe cop, but thats what your average joe 'rican too is making on the books. you have got to see what your joe cop at 36k is enjoying. in all likelihood he has a boat parked in the neighborhood pier or at the very least, has a RV parked in his garage. Gets the best in health for him and his family, and even in a fledgling social security market, gets the best in retirement benefits. believe, me gets top $ for OT. not to mention prime time on TV. when was the last time, you saw that adroit basappa cop on TV? so, whats the cream on a 50$ traffic violation ticket? if he gets caught then he's a lot to lose. but big city cops - NYC, boston, LA, Chicago etc.., where the $ gets lot less, they've got their fingers in all sorts of gravy. dont make news,back in des, like your neighborhood desi cop, but you name the crime, the amriki has got a hand in it, including dumping fridges in rivers and skimming municipal dump yards. all this comes on top of strict cross referencing & accountability. my point being if you increase these, and improve the benefits and penalities, then your average desi cop is not different from you average amriki cop in terms of skill, morals or ethics.

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