'Blue light protocol': JPSA hits back

<b>SAVING LIVES?</b> Justice Project South Africa's Howard Dembovsky maintains the 'blue light protocol' will save lives if followed by the public and law officials.  <i>Image: SAPA</i>
<b>SAVING LIVES?</b> Justice Project South Africa's Howard Dembovsky maintains the 'blue light protocol' will save lives if followed by the public and law officials. <i>Image: SAPA</i>
First SA's top cop told us "don't stop". Now there's a protocol for 'blue light' police. JANINE-LEE GORDON and the team at Wheels24 aired their personal views about the said protocol, ruffling some feathers in the process.

Now Justice Project South Africa's chairman HOWARD DEMBOVSKY has commented on Wheels24's response on the "blue light protocol".

After initially drafting a rather lengthy response to your articles entitled “Screw the ‘blue light protocol” which appeared on the wheels24.co.za website on November 4 2013 at 07.30 crediting Janine-Lee Gordon as the author and the article entitled “This is the 'blue light' protocol” published on the same day attributed to the “Wheels24 editor”, I have decided to rather keep it short and say the following.


Personally, I was somewhat taken aback by the trashy articles you wrote regarding the formalisation of the “blue light protocol” without so much as having the common journalistic professional courtesy to ask either me or Gilberto Martins for any inputs, more especially so given the fact that I am most certainly no stranger to you. I was also somewhat surprised by your classification of Justice Project South Africa as “some bods”, as if we were some new kids on the block you have never heard of when we have been quoted by Media24 publications, including Wheels24 on numerous occasions and you Janine have additionally asked for my inputs on articles you were writing when you were with CityPress.

We were very excited when the new Acting CEO of the RTMC agreed to assist in formalising the protocol and committed to communicate it to law enforcement agencies throughout South Africa since up to now, the protocol itself has not been formalised and only the odd statement here and there, without going into much detail, has been forthcoming from the SA Police Service. I further need to point out that it is not the RTMC who are “the guys who run the toll roads”, but SANRAL and apart from them both being agencies of the Department of Transport, neither of them have the same mandate.

I am very sorry to hear about your personal experience with police Janine, but I hasten to add that far worse things than you being yelled at for driving to a filling station could have happened if this protocol was as flawed as you and your editor seek to make it out to be. Curiously, you don’t seem to have considered what may have happened if you did in fact stop straight away and the people concerned turned out to be criminals posing as cops.

Furthermore, neither of you have so much as suggested any alternative which you believe could work better. Similarly, referring to the October 28 article about Khuli Chana without keeping things current and in perspective and mentioning that there are allegations that CCTV footage exists showing him “trying to run a policeman over” is a little disingenuous don’t you think?

I would also like to point out that your editor’s assertion that if thugs with blue lights start shooting at you “the sensible thing to do in this case is STOP or you WILL BE SHOT” is not only flawed, but is  a grossly irresponsible thing to be saying, given the fact that not just one, but many hijackings and assassinations have taken place in precisely this manner; the most recent of which occurred in Bedfordview just two weeks ago.

I am grateful to other media houses who, instead taking up the resources of two journalists to trash what is intended to save the lives of South Africans and disarm criminal elements at least to some degree, took the time to read our release and publish the facts and I sincerely hope that your “300,000+ individual readers every month” don’t take to heart your advice to “screw the blue light protocol” lest they end up screwing themselves in the process.

Wheels24 is sure most people will follow this protocol when faced with this situation, but we still ask... what would YOU do - especially if there are criminals in the car behind you and not actual police? Email us and we'll publish your thoughts or use the Readers' Comments section below...
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