JAMAICA – Covert operations reducing road traffic violations
KINGSTON – The Police Traffic Division is reporting success in the use of covert operations to reduce road traffic violations. This comes after over 1,073 tickets were issued across three key parishes for various driving offences, since the strategy was implemented over a month ago.
The operations have been successful particularly in Kingston, St Andrew and St Catherine, netting traffic tickets for driving offences including improper overtaking, and exceeding the speed limit. Sometimes when motorists are stopped there are accompanying charges such as for defective vehicles or failure to wear seat belts. Since the start of the year, a total of 388,811 tickets have been issued on the island’s roads.
“Covert operations target certain areas where indiscipline and bad driving are rampant. We have done a number of operations and you never know where we might be next. Motorists found in breach will be dealt with,” warned Acting SSP Courtney Coubrie, head of the Traffic Division.
“There are intersections where some motorists drive into filter areas where they should have turned right, but instead cut across other motorists in order to continue straight, thus forcing them to brake suddenly to avoid a collision. There are others who make their way into the intersection itself, away from the stop line; that, too, is an offence that carries demerit points similar to disobeying the red light. We will be vigilant in detecting and prosecuting as such,” he said.
The covert operations are done with police officers using unmarked vehicles, with a marked vehicle in close proximity to assist in apprehending offenders where necessary.
“We frequent areas where there is a high level of indiscipline and lawlessness. In the past, what usually happens is that the marked vehicle is easily seen from a distance as we are normally on long stretches of roads. If the officers tried to respond to those who commit a violation, on seeing the marked vehicles motorists tended to divert in an attempt to evade the police,” explained Deputy Superintendent Errol Adams, operations officer, Traffic Division.
Another challenge is that on the highways, once a marked vehicle is in position to do speed checks, if a motorist realises this, there is the usual communication with the flashing of headlights. However, in a covert operation, because the vehicle is unmarked, the police are able to detect numerous breaches before motorists are aware of their presence.
Dr Lucien Jones, vice -chairman of the National Road Safety Council (NRSC), commended the police on the effective use of this strategy.
“The NRSC is working closely with the police to support and encourage them as they monitor some of these trouble spots. However, we all have a role to play and I am urging all Jamaicans to be vigilant,” he said.