Traffic cops to cut street patrols, use cameras instead

By Ba Do   October 21, 2020 | 05:45 pm PT
Traffic cops to cut street patrols, use cameras instead
A traffic police stops a driver violating rules on Hanoi-Hai Phong Expressway in northern Vietnam, June 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Ba Do.
Vietnam’s traffic police will increase their reliance on surveillance cameras to detect violations and only head to the streets in person when necessary.

This will happen under a plan that the Traffic Police Department under the Ministry of Public Security is working on.

The plan aims at setting up surveillance cameras along roads to record all traffic operations.

Traffic police will show up on the streets only to handle violations that cannot be detected by watching CCTV footage, like driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or trucks carrying more weight than allowed.

While a specific timeline has not been fixed for implementing the plan, Colonel Do Thanh Binh, deputy head of the traffic police department, said they have submitted it to the ministry for comments and will act once they get the go ahead to deploy it nationwide.

Once the plan takes effect, the police will only have the duty of patrolling the streets occasionally, regulating traffic on special occasions, handling traffic jams and dealing with traffic accidents, he said.

The draft Law on Road Traffic Safety and Order, which has been submitted to the legislative National Assembly for comments, says camera footage of all units and localities will be gathered and transferred to the ministry for management.

The department had said last month that it has been instructed by the ministry to assess the physical fitness of traffic police officers to ensure they could serve the public optimally, taking those with large waistlines off the streets and giving them desk jobs.

The public security ministry, identifying the traffic police as the face of the administration coming into direct contact with the public on the streets, has said it is necessary to have separate standards for such personnel so as to create a favorable image, Colonel Binh said.

As of January 15, a ministry circular allows people to film and record officers without getting in their way. However, officers can request them to leave, and force the recorders if need be, if they are prevented from doing their duty. The circular was issued after expressions of public concern that new drunk driving sanctions could result in traffic police officers demanding bribes from violators.

The Law on Preventing Alcohol's Harmful Effects took effect January 1. It brought cyclists and electric bicycle riders into the net for the first time, imposing fines of VND400,000-600,000 ($17-26) for drunk driving.

Fines for motorcyclists and car drivers have doubled to VND6-8 million and VND30-40 million, and everyone caught driving a vehicle under the influence could have their driving license suspended for 22-24 months.

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