Hanoi traffic cops told to polish public image

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In an explicit gesture to restore public trust, Hanoi police chief Nguyen Duc Chung has instructed traffic police officers to behave better in dealing with violations and be more helpful.

"Each officer has to be more responsible and willing to help residents in the simplest things onwards," he said at a training session for the city traffic police on Monday (December 10).

"If there are objects on the street threatening traffic safety like broken glasses, the officer has to quickly borrow a broom from some nearby house and remove them immediately," the An Ninh Thu Do (Capital City Security) newspaper quoted Chung as saying.

He said traffic cops have to be calm and flexible when taking action against those who refuse to present required papers and insist on calling for someone to intervene.

"In such cases, the traffic officers should give the violators a few minutes to calm down before ordering them to show the papers."

If the violators are students, the elders or people from other provinces, the police should instruct them about the Traffic Law instead of focusing on their faults, he said.

"There should be no words used that hurt the violators. [We] should make them feel respected. While on duty, traffic police should keep a smiling face."

Chung also said traffic police should not handle violations at hidden corners or away from the light at night, including when they target speeding violations.

"It can cause suspicion among passers-by even if they are issuing fines rightfully," he said.


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Regarding increasing cases of violators opposing traffic police on duty, Chung said the police officers are partially at fault for "not handling the issue cleverly and causing conflicts with the violators."

According to Hanoi Police Department, between 2009 and 2011, there were 132 cases where traffic cops on duty were opposed by violators. The number was 20 in the first six months this year.

On September 17, a taxi driver refused to produce relevant papers and drove away with a police officer clinging on to the front. It was only stopped by residents after driving for almost half a kilometer.

Local media have reported many similar cases when drivers pretended to be following the cops' instructions to pull over and then sped away.

Chung, a colonel, said in cases the violators do this, the officers should record their license plate number or take a photograph for subsequent action, instead of clinging on to cars and risk their lives.

He also said traffic police officers on duty are not allowed to frequent cafés.

After three or four hours of patrolling, traffic cops can return to their stations or drop by some local police stations to take a break and drink some water.

He said traffic police in some countries like the US, Germany and Japan are equipped with water bottles while patrolling, and the city police are considering doing the same.

Beginning next year, his department will coordinate with relevant agencies and set up special teams to inspect operations of the traffic police, he said.

A report released last month by the World Bank and the Vietnam's Government Inspectorate found that traffic police is the most corrupt institution in Vietnam.

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