A couple of days ago, we used this column to express our concern over the way police are looking on whilst Toyota Land Cruiser drivers and owners disobeyed traffic regulations. We cited several instances where these Land Cruisers owners and their drivers drive through hectic traffic with their sirens on as if they have the authorisation to do so. But since the publication of that editorial, we have seen the police intensify their operations against indiscipline on our roads.
This time, they are not showing respect for these cars, but have started arresting them for disobeying traffic rules. Being done in collaboration with Citi FM, The Chronicle saw a video, obviously emanating from Citi TV, where some high profile personalities, including a Member of Parliament (MP) were arrested on the Legon bypass for disobeying traffic rules.
These offenders, thinking that they are above the laws of the country, drove in the opposite lane facing incoming cars and vehicles in their attempt to avoid the morning traffic hold-up.
As if this was not enough, they had also, without authorisation, fixed warning flash lights and sirens on their cars, which they were using before they were arrested by the police. In the video we are referencing, which went viral on social media, these Land Cruiser drivers and their owners could not give any tangible reasons to justify why they had fixed these gadgets, a preserve of the security agencies and other recognised organisations, on their cars.
The Chronicle was, however, happy to note that despite the intimidating tactics adopted by some of these ‘big men,’ the police stood their ground and prepared them for court. Available information is that the exercise will continue until there is enough discipline on our roads.
The development we are now seeing is good news for us as a country, and we applaud the police for applying the law without looking at the personalities involved. It is only in developing countries such as ours that those ministers, MPs and those who see themselves as ‘big men’ do not respect the law.
The United States of America, Great Britain, and France among others, have multi-millionaires, but they all respect the laws. They dare not break them, because they know the consequences for that, but, here in Ghana, immediately one manages to buy a four wheel drive, he sees himself/herself as above the laws of the country. We are not saying this is what ministers in Ghana are doing, but in the countries we have just mentioned, ministers and other high profile people respect the law and will never do what we are experiencing on our streets and highways.
As we noted previously, the abuse of traffic regulations was on the ascendency, because the ‘big men’ realised that the police were afraid to stop them, and this emboldened them to treat the traffic laws with contempt.
As the police themselves have stated, we trust that the exercise will continue unabated to ensure total discipline on our roads. This must, however, be done in a firm and fair manner. The duty of every police officer is to prevent crime and not wait for the crime to be committed before action is taken.
Therefore, the situation whereby the police hide in obscure corners hoping that a motorist will commit an offence for him or her to be arrested must be avoided. Yesterday, some of our staff members saw about four police officers park their motorbikes at an obscure corner at the Okponglo traffic lights near the Legon main gate, waiting for motorists to cross the red lights for them to be arrested.
This, to us, is not a good way to prevent crime. The police must vividly be seen so that their presence will prevent people from committing traffic and other offences. We may not have the expertise, but for a police officer to hide himself for people to commit crime before arresting them is not the best method police in Ghana should entertain.