TRAFFIC POLICE IN ACTION
By Iqrak Sulhin (Criminologist, University of Indonesia)
There is an interesting “A Mild” advertisement in televisions. About a policeman who under cover as a funny little tree and catch a woman and her car who turn over to the opposite way but actually the regulation do not allow it. This only a cigarette advertisement, but there is a message in it. The woman offend the regulation just because no traffic police seeing and the policeman actually set up the offending rather prevent it. At the end, the advertisement says “ask why” to something that happen whereas it should not happen. The “A Mild” advertisement give us a little ironic illustration about traffic police in action.
Every time we driving in the street, we can find the traffic police. Most od them guard the intersections. They us the same uniform like other police squad. But, there are some differences. The main color they use are brown and white. Traffic police use the white police hat or helmet. The shoes are white and so their patrol car or motorcycle. They often equipped by lighting stick and whistle used for arrange the traffic order. When ever traffic jam occur, this squad will take the main roles to face it. So that when traffic accident or traffic law offending happen. In Indonesia, they use the 1992 Traffic act as the main regulation. In a specific situation they make their own regulation. Specially by the local police headquarters.
In the case of traffic offending, every traffic police should deal with based on the regulation. The policeman/woman should give the offender the traffic offending ticket and put them to traffic court in order to get the clear punishment or fine. After that the offender can get their driving license back. In the contrary, they often solve the traffic offending by they own, but common, way. In Indonesia peoples usually call it the “peace money”. This is a very serious problems in the law supremacy and the law enforcement.
One time a traffic police stop me at under akses UI street fly over. He ask me to step down from my motorcycle and show the driving license and also my motorcycle marking letter. Fortunately, I bring both of them, so the policeman do not give me the ticket. The only problem he find is I do not turn on my motor light, and ask me to always turn it on during in the street wheter in daylight. Actually, from that police action I predict two things. First, he stop me because he only want to ask me to turn on my motor light because the new traffic regulation ask for that. Second, he only try to find my error in random way. At that time, there is not only me who do not turn on the light. I know it exactly because I still have an opportunity to see my right side. The second are the most people predict about the traffic police actions.
Why the policeman ask only me to stop? I think he choose randomly and try to find if the driver make an error related to the two most important letters we should bring during driving, the driving license and the motor marking letter. If I don’t bring one of them, moreover both of them, I will get the traffic ticket. Ironicly, the police man will prefer if I offer the “peace money” rether than ask me go to the traffic offending court. Long before this happen, I do offend the traffict regulation in Sudirman street. At that time I drive my motorcycle in the fast way which is only allowed for the four or more wheel vehicle. The traffic police stop me and pay 35.000 rupias for that offending.
About a week later after a policeman stop me under the akses UI street fly over, in front of Indonesian Central Bank at M.H. Thamrin street, I face the same problem. It’s about 6.30 pm. The police regulations said that before 7.00 pm every vehicle do not allowed to turn right directly to Merdeka Selatan street. Moreover if the vehicle turn over directly to the opposite way. At that time we do turn right and in the lower end of Merdeka Selatan there are about six policeman waiting for us. At the and, we have to pay 50.000 rupiah for that. What I want to say in this case is the police let us make the offending and than arrest us for that. In other words, the policeman set up the offending beside preventing us not to offend the traffic regulations. If the traffic police wants to prevent every vehicle from offending the regulation, they have to give warning at the time before the vehicle do turn right.
However the occur of “the peace money” way to deal with the traffic offender for some extent couse by the demand from the offender it self. From my experience I am the one who first offer the “peace” sollution. But, it seems like a negotiation. The policeman also accept my offer by define the “peace money” amount. When the offending happen, the police stop me, and ask me to follow him to the small police post in the street corner. In side, the police tell about the regulation I have been offended, and so the fine I have to pay as the punishment. By that time, I offer that kind of sollution, and the policeman agree. Because that is my first traffic offending I am really surprise. I do expect the police accept my offer, but do not think it will happen so fast. This case give me more reality for what people always says about the traffic police.
I think the police wage for their risky jobs are also one of the causes. The traffic police often work at a vey risky condition. Their often work at a very shiny and hot days. I the middle of intersection with high level of air pollution from thousands of vehicles. They also in the middle accident risk. To do this jobs, they often do not equipped by apropriate equipment. For doing this, the wage received by traffic police are very minimum. This is why, in my opinion, they do break their or regulations dealing with the traffic offenders.
Finally this make me more realize that there is a big problems in traffic law enforcement. Peoples can not axpect the traffic police change their “peace money” traffic offending sollution without change the welfare of the policeman/woman. Beside that, traffic law enforcement will run in the right way if there is a massive law consciousnes form the peoples.