- Published on Sunday, 05 August 2012 02:11
- Written by EDITOR
- Hits: 973
THE Crisis Response Team (CRT), a special unit in the police force, which, according to Traffic Police boss Mohammed Mpinga, was formed to curb crime, is under fire for corruption allegations.
The armed young men in combat attire, riding motorcycles which allow them to move along even in a heavy traffic jam, have been accused of harassing motorists and soliciting kickbacks from lawbreakers.
In a random survey conducted by this newspaper in Dar es Salaam, reporters established that some of the gun- toting police, were not only busy making some extra bucks illegally, but were also causing unnecessary fear among innocent motorists.
If money isn't given for failure to produce a driving licence, then it must be from a minor traffic offence. On one occasion, two members of the CRT engaged a truck driver in more than half an hour of squabbling. The incident attracted the attention of reporters who disguised themselves as mere passers-by who were just curious to know what really was the matter.
The truck was in bad shape, with worn out tyres and body. Our reporters had suspected that the driver didn't have a valid road or driving licence and his insurance cover might have expired.
However, the reporters learnt that the truck driver had crossed the four way junction at Mandela Express way and Nyerere Road, while traffic lights prohibited him to do so. The long argument ended prematurely when one of the police jumped into the truck and the driver drove off, while the other police followed them on a motorbike.
As assumed, that easily settled the matter. No documents or receipts for fine, no records. Some palms would be greased, for sure. But the greased palms would leave some scars, not really physical but in the form of mental anguish. The truck driver, has a bitter story to tell his fellows.
Motorists who unwillingly part with their money have complained against the behaviour of some of the CRT police. Why do they take advantage of their position to solicit bribes? Do they officially book traffic offenders and force them to pay a fine and then issue a receipt? Is there any boss following up on their operations?
We are aware that the CRT is a trained squad. As such, it is privileged to intervene in any suspicious environment, including taking to task offenders of the Highway Code.
Their presence on the roads especially in Dar es Salaam, provides assurance and is indeed a blessing to many.
Which means they are not only expected to respond to a crime, but are also a comfort to the residents. The police are a prevention against possible lawlessness.
No criminals dare to strike in the presence of armed police. That would amount to playing with fire. In this, we have no objection.
However, we would like to urge the police chief to remind the squad to adhere to professionalism and avoid involvement in corrupt practices. They may opt to refute the allegations but that would just be for a while. In the long run, the truth will emerge and this would be shameful to the generally disciplined police force.