Ombudsman calls for help from the public to curb corrupt practice

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PR - It appears to the Office of the Ombudsman that members of the public are being stopped by Police officers on traffic duty for no good reason. 

Some people have reported that officers seemed to them to be angling for money. 

Indeed some have said that they have paid money to get out of inconvenient “nuisance” situations. 

Undoubtedly only a few officers are engaged in this conduct but these few are giving the Police and its many good officers a bad name.

A move observed in busy intersections such as the intersections at the McDonalds and Farmer Joe street corners is for rogue officers to suggest and to argue that drivers have crossed a red light.  These officers are apt to place themselves to be not easily observable and spring out to catch the supposed violators.

Other types of violations are also presented elsewhere on the roads by rogue officers to particularly vulnerable people like women and visitors to Samoa.

In spite of efforts, it is not as easy as one might think for the Police to discover rogue officers in compromising circumstances. 

The help of the public is clearly needed if we are to root out corrupt conduct. Members of the public who come across suspicious conduct can assist by noting the names of officers involved and reporting them to either the Professional Standards Unit of Police or to the Office of the Ombudsman. 

At the very least, public reporting will establish a record of frequent occurrences which could prove to be of effective help in addressing corrupt activity.

Members of the public should know that unlawful crossing occurs when the traffic light has turned red before a vehicle crosses at the beginning of the crossing. 

If the light turns yellow while approaching an intersection and a vehicle cannot slow down and stop safely, as long as the light is yellow at the time a vehicle commences its crossing it is not a red light crossing. 

In these circumstances a red light at the time the vehicle crosses the far end of the intersection where a rogue officer usually waits to pounce may not be an unlawful crossing.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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