Vacuum of authority

2008-10-13 00:00

Since the media responded to public concern about the improper use of official vehicles, there have been suggestions that the “taxi” signs in traffic police cars are nothing more than a joke. Even if this is true (and there have been many credible reports of unauthorised passengers in these cars) the joke is hardly amusing. Police personnel in every branch need to command respect. They need also to respect the laws and regulations that they enforce. Playing silly games with their cars trivialises their role and trivialises the law. Whether helping a road user or stopping an offender, an officer’s behaviour has to be scrupulously correct.

Similarly troubling is that these irregular signs have been spotted even after the matter was drawn to official attention. This points to wholly unacceptable laxity on the part of more senior staff. In a branch of the public service where discipline is essential, conduct that is at best foolish and at worst a misuse of official resources has not been effectively checked. The public often complain that the traffic police are not doing their job properly. A shake-up seems overdue.

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