We are fervently praying to see that fateful day and beyond, when personnel of the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service, would not take a driver to the rear of a vehicle for their usual ‘handshake’.
It is an undeniable fact that when police personnel stop a vehicle on our roads, the driver conceals some cedi notes in what looks like their driver’s licence, to meet the police behind the vehicle.
Not only is this daylight corruption and indiscipline, common in the urban areas, but the rural communities too, where the police are inconsiderate to the plight of motorists whose vehicles are not roadworthy due to the horrible state of their roads.
Maybe, the extortion in the urban centres is better, because the police do not usually stand by dusty roads to shake hands with motorists.
In the rural areas, the MTTD personnel do not bother the red dust they would inhale to stop an oncoming vehicle to shamefully shake hands with the driver.
What makes the act more disgraceful is that the rural MTTD personnel are able to demand extra money from the driver, based on the number of passengers or goods in the vehicle.
If in extortion, the police and driver would bargain, then we are doomed as a country.
Suffice it to say: If it is not witchcraft, then, what else could describe the shameful conduct of our men in black, who, as far as we know, are paid good salaries.
Lest we forget, the police service became very attractive upon the introduction of the Single Spine Salary in 2009, and the least, the lowest rank police personnel received monthly, was GH¢1,200.
By that change in their salaries, all that we expect from the police is to live up to expectation, for the government is doing its best to make their bank accounts fat.
Commuters, in view of this, need the police to thoroughly allow the Road Traffic Regulations to work when they stop a vehicle to inspect how genuine a driver’s licence is, number of passengers onboard the vehicle, et al.
The police authority cannot pretend it is unaware of the daily unpatriotic conducts by a majority of its personnel, who position themselves on busy stretches where they can feed on the negligence of an ignoramus driver, who needs to be prosecuted for breaking a Road Traffic Regulation.
A greater number of the drivers on our roads are not licensed, in addition to the rickety vehicles which are fit for scraps.
A careful examination of some drivers would reveal that some drink and drive, and when an MTTD personnel stops such a speeding-to-kill driver, should anybody justify an extortion of GH¢1 by the police?
We will not mince saying it straight that some of the road accidents could be blamed on the unwelcome handshakes from these personnel.
For example, if an overloaded vehicle police personnel stop to extort money from the driver, later is involved in an accident, with some of the overloaded cargo falling off on a pedestrian or stationary vehicle, who should be made to carry the cross?
We need patriotic police personnel, who would not wield guns and stand by the road side, not to scare armed robbers, but grimace to meet a driver at the rear of the vehicle to ‘shake hands’.
A day is drawing nigh when police personnel would ‘shake hands’ with the devil, and maybe, just maybe, that would be the beginning of the end of the unabated police extortion.