Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Hide and seek police officers

A BN backbencher (Bintulu) brought up an interesting observation in Parliament recently regarding the tendency of some police officers who like to hide behind trees and at the first opportune moment, jumped out to flag down some unsuspecting motorists suspected of having flouted traffic rules.

Has it occurred to the police officers that their antics are downright dangerous? I think these guys watched too much Scenario type movies.

Imagine if it happened along a dark street corner. If I were a motorist, my instinct would have been to speed off if I see someone suddenly coming out of nowhere trying to flag me down. Why? Because with the spate of crimes in our cities, how would I know if that silly person playing hide and seek is a real policeman or just some criminal dressed up like a police officer? Especially so if I am a woman driving alone.

And what if the driver has a weak heart? Will the police be liable if the driver suffered a heart attack after he had been ambushed? And in the unfortunate scenario of an inexperienced driver caught totally off-guard and accidentally rammed into the police officer, who is in the wrong then?

Perhaps our police personnel should not resort to such tactics just to catch an extra one or two traffic offenders. There must be better ways to enhance public compliance to traffic laws and regulations.

Besides, with the current spate of serious crimes in our cities namely mugging, armed robbery, snatch-thefts, car thefts and kidnapping/rape cases, I think it would serve us all better if our law enforcers could spend more of their time and effort to police our streets and make it safer for everyone, young and old. I'm sure in the broader scheme of things, we should return to the priority of making our cities safe for locals and tourists alike even if such policing does not increase the coffers of the department compared to issuing summonses.

We may have first class infrastructure to attract tourists from all over the world but if we gain a notorious reputation as an unsafe country where all sorts of criminals (petty or dangerous) roam our streets freely, then we are no better (if not worse) than some poor third world country.

And at the rate things are going at the moment, judging by the news we read in our papers each day, we seem to be heading down the wrong path towards an uncivilised society where street crimes have become a daily, albeit unwelcomed part of our lives.



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