Traffic police barred from riding in seized private cars
Police officers have been barred from riding to a station in private cars whose drivers have been booked for minor traffic offences.
Some officers who spoke on condition of anonymity, because they not authorised to speak to the media, said they were finding the order, which was communicated orally, difficult to implement, because some offenders fail to obey summonses.
In such cases, the officers say, if the offenders are never arrested, the government stands to lose millions of shillings in cash bails and court fines every week.
The government collects an estimated Sh3 million every week from traffic offenders in Nairobi alone.
Contacted for comment, Traffic Commandant Charlton Murithi said: “The law does not bar the police.”
However, the traffic boss does not deny that the new order was given.
The directive issued to traffic police officers is already being implemented in Nairobi.
It reverses an old practice where officers would flag down vehicles, demand to enter their cars and command the driver to drive to the station for booking.
In the new order, officers are required to record details of vehicles and drivers’ particulars on the spot.
The driver is required to report to the station later, but not after a day.
However, it is not in all cases where arrested drivers cooperate and drive with a police officer to the station at will.
In situations where a traffic officer on a motor bike is nearby, they would be required to trail an intercepted car up to the station.
The law allows police to issue a driver with a Notice to Attend Court after he or she is booked for an offence punishable by only a fine, or imprisonment not exceeding six months.
In case an officer has not concluded that a suspect should appear in court, a notification referred to as Notice of Intended Prosecution is issued.
Those who fail to report to the station are deemed to have ignored summons.