'No targeting of motorists'

BY BALFORD HENRY Observer senior reporter balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, November 09, 2012

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DEPUTY Commissioner Glenmore Hinds has assured motorists they need not fear increased police targeting due to missed target from traffic tickets.

"Our members are duty bound to uphold the law, that's their Oath of Office," DCP Hinds told Parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) on Wednesday.

The PAAC learnt that although the Ministry of Finance and Planning had projected revenue of $1-2 billion from the unpaid traffic tickets, only $5.5 million had been collected after the first four months.

He said while the police is allowed discretion in traffic offences, they must rely on the provisions of respective statutes.

"Our policemen are not given quotas. There is no quota to meet. They are instigated by offences being committed. So, I would want this committee to rest assured that our members at all times will obey the law and strictly abide by their Oath of Office," he said.

DCP Hinds was responding to concerns raised by two members of the PAAC, Dr Dayton Campbell and Fitz Jackson, who felt that the huge shortfall in projected revenue for 2012/2013 from the six-month amnesty for motorists with unpaid traffic tickets dated up to September 20, 2010, could prompt increased pressure on motorists to reduce the revenue gap.

"Is it that motorists are going to come under pressure because you are trying to bridge the shortfall?" Campbell asked.

He got support from Jackson who was concerned that the ministry's expenditure could become "predicated on infractions".

Jackson noted that while the ministry and the JCF were trying to discourage road breaches and reduce offences, which could mean less revenue from ticketing, they had maintained
the same level of appropriations-in-aid in
the ministry.

"I just want balance," Jackson said. "I want when you breach the law the revenue is collected, but I don't want that in an effort to get the revenue you become unreasonable."

PAAC Chairman Edmund Bartlett pointed out that such an admission would be "a serious indictment overall".

"I believe that the most important point that needs to be made by this committee, is to ensure that the law is maintained in all its forms and that we rely on the security forces to ensure that it happens," Bartlett said.

DCP Hinds noted that when laws are broken, it is not against the individual policeman, but the
state, and the officer should not personalise interactions with the public.

"One of the things we have done is that we have a citizen/police interaction policy that clearly articulates how interaction should proceed and what we expect," Hinds said.




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