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30.11.2009 General News

Enforcing The Law With Circumspection

By Daily Graphic
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The fight to reduce crime to the barest minimum in society is by no means an easy task. In the technologically advanced times in which we are living today, criminals have devised more sophisticated ways of carrying out their trade and covering up their tracks to evade detection, identification, arrest and prosecution.

This calls for the adoption of more skilful and innovative approaches by our law enforcement agencies to decipher the modus operandi of these criminals.

It also requires the collective support and co-operation of members of the public, some of whom know the criminals, by way of offering relevant information and other vital leads to facilitate crime prevention and detection, as well as the arrest of those involved.

It is generally accepted that the methods chosen at any point in time to fight crime may vary according to the time, circumstances, the availability of resources, among others, and that these may change if circumstances change.

Only this week, the police served notice of its intention to clamp down on motorcyclists engaged in commercial business and also riding in the late hours of the day.

Already, a number of such motorcyclists have been arrested for allegedly engaging in illegal commercial motorised business, known in local parlance as “Okada” (see story on pages 24/49).

One of the causes of the near anarchy on our roads is sheer indiscipline. People and some categories of vehicles which are not permitted by law to operate on the roads do so with impunity.

Even some of those with permits to operate flout the rules of engagement and arrogate to themselves the right to do as they please at places and the time of their choosing.

We are, therefore, in principle in support of the police dealing with all those engaged in illegal activities, including on our roads.

The unmistakable word that must go out to members of the public is that the law works and that anyone who infringes it will not and must not be allowed to go scot-free.

That is how respect for the law across the board can be attained and sustained for discipline, vital for social peace and law and order, to be restored.

These notwithstanding, we wish to say that given the times and circumstances we are in and the services these “Okada” motorcyclists render to the low income and underprivileged sections of our society, a second look should be taken at our motor traffic laws to see if we cannot do something to legalise these “Okada” operations.

Legalising the “Okada” business will not only serve the convenience of some members of our society, in the face of the heavy traffic jams and high cost of transport, but also create jobs and give incomes to those in the business.

Additionally, the government can exact taxes from the operators to boost its revenue. We also wish to appeal to the police that in enforcing the ban on the use of motorbikes late in the night, they should go about it with a great deal of circumspection and a human face, given the fact that these are the only means of transport for some of our working people who work late into the night.

We believe that with a combination of these measures and co-operation from the public, sanity will return to our roads and all can move freely in pursuit of their legitimate business.

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