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Traffic police - why stand and deliver?

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Was driving my F-I-L's Santro the other day when I was stopped by one of those police parties. 5 of them, settled under a thick tree. Half of them waiting to stop unsuspecting vehicles, the other half busy 'punishing' the 'successful' catches. I never get stopped when driving bigger cars, but the 9 year old santro 'fit' their criteria.

Traffic cop 1Traffic cop 2

After an exhaustive round of questions and document-parades, it turned out that Santro's emission certificate had recently expired. Alright, time to take the 'punishment' now, I was kind of excited while being whisked away to the 'punishing' side of the road. I was polite, and accepted my 'crime'. I was shown a xerox-ed sheet that said my fine would be Rs 600. Fine said I, though I recalled not seeing any number higher than Rs 500 on the BTP website. Next, I showed them my wallet, which was empty and told them that the purpose of my short drive was to fill it at the nearby ATM. I asked to be pardoned, my good luck that I was obliged, though the parting shot was, "if you have any love (preeti) for us, please do return and (waapas barowaaga) share something".

Well, I do love them. But I have no love for this stand and deliver stuff. Teasing deserving-or-not bikers and old-car owners for vehicle documents - what exactly is its worth and purpose? Uncover vehicle theft? Or is there a theory that says those who are careless with RTO documents are more likely to break traffic rules?

5 of them can do policing wonders if they mingle and move with the traffic and catch those umpteen wrong-siders, or zigzag drivers. I bet you that if one of them sits near the new Marathahalli bridge for 30 minutes everyday, and notes down numbers of vehicles doing more than the posted speed limit of 30 kmph (!), we would save lives of a few soon-to-be-hit pedestrians (just you wait).

I am curious as to why is it that they even consider using this inefficient stand-and-deliver method. Not enough budget to pay for petrol/diesel to keep a good number of them mobile? Not enough 'power' or authority to catch and fine folks for things that are 'hard' to prove (Ex: can't fine me for over=speeding without a radar gun report for proof) ? How are they incentivized, how are they measured for performance? There must be some reasons that I want to understand.

Bangalore Police recently acquired some modern interceptor vehicles, but will just 6-8 of those be enough? What is it that prevents Bangalore Traffic police from using each of their bikes or jeeps as 'interceptors'?

[PS: this is a curiosity post, and not a rant. I think we don't understand the workings of traffic police that well. Let us develop it via some knowledge sharing here]

[Pics: The blackberry master cop, and the mobile printer they use to print the records]


No space for big cars

145 users have liked.

Curiously, i too have observed that the police do not catch big cars. I drive a Tata Indigo LS and till date i have never been caught except for some parking fines - even if there is no "no parking" sign, it is still a "violation".

Police usually do not catch big cars in a high traffic road because there is no space to ask the cars to stop aside. Small cars, two wheelers, autos ok. And lorries and trucks are easy targets because none of the drivers would be aware of their rights under the Motor Vehicles Act or Local laws. 

bangalore-guy's picture


158 users have liked.

I was on my bike in Jayanagar and was stopped for the usual paper checking.. I had renewed the insurance just two days back and was unfortunately not carrying a copy of the new document. I tried my best to convince them but they were adamant. I even offered my DL and said keep this and I will come back with the document. But they wanted me to leave the bike and go.. and even mocked me by offering to pay for auto. If only I had the time..

Anyways, I was on my way to ATM so walked all the way to the ATM and handed the guy the fine amount of 500 rs. Again mentioning that I have renewed the insurance two days back.. he then offered me Rs 300 back and said fine go !

This was my moment of glory, in front of all his subordinates and other public. I refused and did so loudly and asked him to give me a receipt. He was certainly not amused. But I was happy that I made a point not only to him but even to other people around him.

blrsri's picture

was it around itpl?

152 users have liked.

The photo of the officer looks familiar..I was also stopped and my emission was outdated last time around ..these blokes were quite funny and very easy going..asked him a pardon and he said dont pay the actual something minimal he said..

He asked 200 and he gave me a printed receipt for that working with his  black berry  and a remote printer..I waz happy but later realised that the crime printed was jumping a signal and the fine was for 100 Rs!


Naveen's picture

Traffic Police - Another Angle

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SB - Interesting Stuff !

The chances of violations may be lower with the bigger cars, perhaps as per BTP's staistics, since they dont check them anyway !  Maybe this is how they justify this & consider it not "worth" their efforts to check them, or is there more to this ?

This is, in my opinion incorrect & invalid. All vehicles must be checked, irrespective of their length or class or cadre. This is again playing into the hands of the Car lobbies. This is a new entity - the "Big Car Lobby", an invisible entity beneath the surface, I guess. Yesterday, an audi was passing recklessly along airport rd (old), & though the cop saw it at agaram rd jn, he was too lazy to make the effort to note down his number or rise from his perch beneath the shelter.

I think they only "Stand & deliver" because there are no incentives whatsoever for better enforcement. In Mumbai, they once had a program to reward cops who met a certain criteria of booking x no. of vehicles a month, or some such. Though successful in bringing about fear of the cop on the roads, it had been dismantled at that time, but it changed the perception of the cop on the streets. Maybe we need something like this here as enforcemnt is outright silly.


Vasanth's picture

traffic cops - certification based rather than offense based

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Well, our cops are mostly certificate based instead of offense based. There will be n number of vehicles emitting smoke a lot, but, if they have emission test, they are passed on the other hand a 4 stroke petrol vehicle, which never can reach the emission levels mentioned by the Government, will be fined if they are not having emission certificate.

There will be 'n' number of people not following any traffic rules who will be not asked any question, whereas if somebody forgets to carry driver's license, even though they have it, they are fined heavily. This is our 'Indianised' traffic rules. 


silkboard's picture

Question is - why this way?

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Blrsri, yes, this was near ITPL.

Vasanth, Naveen - the question is - why do they work this way. I am sure they have their reasons for doing more of stand-and-deliver than mingle-and-catch. They don't really need supercars to chase vehicles down, given the city's traffic conditions, nobody can manage to 'escape'. Even if they do, cops have a decent radio system to relay messages.

See, bribery etc is a different problem. We should understand the motive and reasons behind their enforcement methods.

  • How do they decide the locations of these ambush parties?
  • How they plan and reimburse the petrol/diesel budgets of theu vehicles?
  • How do they tally receipts all cops issued for these spot fines? I have hear a few accounts where they have handed out valid looking receipts for amounts greater that what the fine should be.
  • What exactly does their blackberry system do? What systems does it connect to at the back-end?
Anyone interested in meeting a top cop to ask and understand all this? We can create an "enforcement working group" to represent Praja in interactions with cops on enforcement.
narayan82's picture

Empty Wallet? - solution!

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I do not want to pay bribe! Instead of saving Rs.300 I would rather pay that much more - get a receipt - and be proud of it (probably will post in on flickr :)) I was under the impression, that if a Cop catches you, and you dont have money (or dont want to pay) you can get a "Challan" and then clear it within 3 working days at a B'lore One Centre? To me this supports both. people who dont want to pay bribe and have no money on them can avail this. Also if this is the ONLY way you pay a fine, then it can be specified that a policeman on duty cannot have more than Rs.500 on him at a given point (hence no bribe) Heres another idea: We createa scheme, where anyone who has paid a bribe and can prove it gets his money back. In turn the corrupt official will be made to pay up (with a fine) for this amount. So this will motivate the cops NOT to take a bribe in fear of getting caught.
Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
Naveen's picture

Stand & Deliver needs to be Questioned

161 users have liked.


SB - very valid questions.

Many years back, Infosys had gifted some 30-odd bikes to assist traffic cops in their patrols ('Cheetahs' - they were called, & painted like cheetahs too). Though there were no pakka newsreports, from what I gathered, I think fuel allocated for these bikes were "leaking" somehow into the cops' own vehicles :)  & the patrolling scheme had died a 'natural' death, as do almost all such initiatives in this land !

I think, presently the cops entitled to "company" owned bikes or jeeps are only above a certain rank upwards as leakage & misuse is a menace that simply cannot be controlled. If fuel is controlled through a particular petrol station with coupons, soon enough the bunk owner "assists" with siphoning fuel back to his own storage tank with cash rewards, maybe ! This was what was happening to my co's office vehicles in mumbai. So, now they are entirely outsourcing the pickup /drop-ff services based on actual no. of trips to /from airport /hotel, etc & gotten rid of all the vehicles & drivers.

I am surprised that you were overcharged for the offence - do you still have the challan ? If so, it can be challenged & maybe we need a WG here.

The "stand & deliver" tactics also need to be questioned - they have to find a way to make patrolling workable - fit sealed meters, both for fuel & milage, perhaps ?


murali772's picture

ambushing speed cops

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the following is the text of the letter I had sent to the Indian Express in April '07:

I refer to the front page report in your columns today under the caption 'violence after youth runover'. The report further goes on to state that the youth was riding his two-wheeler on the wrong side of the road.

Now, this is the kind of menace that every law-abiding road user is faced with day-in and day-out, and is quite the biggest nightmare for him. And, one expected that the traffic cops were given those fancy bikes essentially to chase such offenders, and bring them to book sufficiently heavily so that they don't ever dare to repeat them. Instead, what we see is the 'speed cops' literally ambushing two-wheeler riders here and there, and booking them largely for minor offences, apparently with just the 'revenue' targets in mind.

Do we need repeats of such incidents before our cops learn to become more objective in their approaches?

Narayan's idea of paying the fines at 'Bangalore One' appears a good suggestion.

I have been in fairly regular touch with Mr Seemanth Kumar Singh, IPS, DCP traffic East. I shall forward this link to him. We can form a WG group to meet him also.

Muralidhar Rao
Muralidhar Rao
admin's picture

Enforcement WG

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Yes, Murali sir, Naveen, we will do a WG for this one. Let the current site upgrade work be over and we will get started with two WGs, "public transport" and "enforcement".


Vasanth's picture

Why big cars are not caught?

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Police knows that big cars are driven by Sons and Daughters or Wives or any other relatives of MLAs / MPs / Corporators. Their job is at stake and hence they do not catch big cars who cause most of the congestion.

It is the poor man's small car who causes less congestion which is caught!!

aparna_vb's picture

Following basic rules.

160 users have liked.
I keep wondering too - "will just 6-8 of those interceptors be enough for a city like Bangalore?" I think, the idea of interceptors is good. But, a better thing would be to educate drivers about traffic rules. In most of the western countries, a person gets his DL by first writing a test and then taking a road test. Most youngsters getting their DLs are quite thorough with traffic rules and take the road test seriously. On the other hand, in our country, most of us don't even take up a test but we have a DL in our hands. How do we make sure people get a DL through a proper channel? We really need to think seriously about this. We badly need STOP signs ( the STOP sign board should be atleast at a height of 7 feet - most signs are at such low height that you end up hitting them very often) where four roads meet. Drivers need to respect the concept that "right of way for the person who is at the intersection first". They need to learn that STOP sign means "come to a complete halt, make sure no one is in your way and then proceed". Anybody who violates a STOP sign should be fined. For these things to happen, like you mention, "stand and deliver" method will not work. Why can't our traffic police have atleast a Scooty or a similar vehicle with a little bit of accessories, where they can switch on a flashing light or a siren to catch the violator? Signs that say "yield to pedestrians" must be put near schools; along with this sign, we badly need zebra crossing markings on busy streets. Crossing busy roads is a nightmare. Is there any way we can meet the authorities and make some changes to our city and make our city a better place?
silkboard's picture

See this - no number plate

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Recently, I saw this car with a red light but number plate covered with a newspaper. the car went through two spots (on airport road) where this usual stand and deliver stuff was on. Nobody bothered to stop this car, while the standard practice of stopping two wheelers continued. Sorry, I couldn't manage a picture of this car passing through a "stand and deliver" group of cops, camera phone is too slow to react, but this was right near HAL/CV Ramana Nagar signal on airport road.

If they do this to complete their "monthly quota" of fines (they may have targets, like say 100 fines a month), then I think they should do this. The target must be for types of fines as well. Like say, if the target is 100 fines, it must be 20 speeding, 20 red light jumping, 20 lack of vehicle papers, 20 parking, and 20 the rest. Don't know if such simple procedural chane is possible.

silkboard's picture

Has "stand and deliver" reduced?

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Commenting on this age old post, but  think traffic police as reduced this paper checking harassment (business) a lot. They don't stop people without visible reasons (non KA number plate, no helmet, using phone etc).

Checking if this is true, or I have been just been lucky for over two years now!? comment guidelines

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