Police should be first to respect traffic laws
POLICE officers found guilty of traffic violations will no longer be able to hide behind their badges but will instead face criminal charges like any other citizen, a senior officer said yesterday.

“They will face both criminal and disciplinary charges,” said Traffic Police Chief Demetris Demetriou.

An internal memo was yesterday already in the process of being prepared and would be distributed to all members of the force, he said.

Demetriou said officers who violated the Traffic Code, even if they were driving patrol cars, would be fined like anyone else and this included getting points on their licence. Additionally disciplinary action would be taken against the offending officers, he said.

The traffic chief said it was unacceptable for officers of the law to undermine the efforts of traffic police who worked so hard to convince the public to respect the Traffic Code. Instead police should be the first to adhere to the traffic regulations, said Demetriou.

“We can’t report citizens when we ourselves break the law,” he said.

The issue came to the forefront following photographs taken by citizens showing police patrol cars parked on pavements, bicycle lanes and pedestrian crossings. Demetriou said the ‘guilty’ drivers had been found and were being dealt with.

“Officers have been charged and fined before for traffic violations,” Demetriou added.

Asked how many had actually been fined, the traffic chief said he couldn’t say.

“I don’t have the exact figures right now but people have certainly been charged in the past. An internal circular will be issued today informing [members of the police] that they will face criminal and disciplinary charges [for traffic offences],” he said.