In an effort to cast a friendly light onto the traffic police, female traffic police officers were deployed to particularly congested areas in the capital city of Hanoi on Thursday.
“The move is made with the intention of improving the image of the traffic police, as well as that of the police in general, in the eyes of the public,” VietNamNet quoted Colonel Dao Vinh Thang, head of the traffic police department, as saying.
More than 20 female officers from the Hanoi Traffic Police Department were assigned to patrol ten major positions typically burdened with brutal traffic jams.
“The female officers who have been asked to undertake the task have all been well-trained – not only in terms of their skills, but also their attitudes toward people,” said assured Colonel Thang.
While on duty, the women are armed with guns loaded with rubber bullets, handcuffs and walkie-talkies, just like their male counterparts.
The female cops have only been scheduled traffic duty during rush hours: 7-8:30 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. The rest of their working day follows to their normal schedule, Thang said.
Sergeant Major Dinh Thi Thanh Binh, who said she has never performed a street traffic patrol, told Thanh Nien, “Worried as I am, I believe that what I have learned in school and my experiences in real life will help me accomplish my mission.”
Normally, female traffic cops mostly do office work, such as processing and filing official police paperwork.
Between 2009 and 2011, there were 132 recorded incidents in which violators disobeyed, argued with, or assaulted on-duty traffic police, according to the General Police Department for Crime Prevention and Suppression under the Ministry of Public Security. There were 20 such cases in the first six months of 2012.
Previously, female traffic police have patrolled the streets on special occasions, such as the 1,000th anniversary of Hanoi in 2010.
The World Bank and the Vietnam’s Government Inspectorate said last November in a report that traffic police is the country’s most corrupt institution.
By Ha An, Thanh Nien News (The story can be found in the January 4th issue of our print edition, Vietweek)