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100 new traffic cops hit the streets of Phnom Penh

A police officer directs traffic in Phnom Penh.
A police officer directs traffic in Phnom Penh. Hong Menea

100 new traffic cops hit the streets of Phnom Penh

One hundred newly trained traffic officers have hit the capital’s streets in recent days in the latest bid to ease congestion in the capital’s most snarled areas, said Chev Hak, chief of the municipal traffic police.

Another 200 officers currently in training will join them in September.

However, Run Roth Veasna, the director of the traffic police, blamed Phnom Penh’s ever-worsening congestion on road users failing to follow traffic laws rather than on a lack of officials.

“We already have many traffic police in Phnom Penh,” Roth Veasna said, adding that the job requires “training and skills” that not everyone possesses.

Ear Chariya, director of the Institute for Road Safety, said the boost in traffic police numbers might help, but would on its own be insufficient. He identified corrupt officials and a lack of motivation as the main obstacles.

“There’s no political commitment to actually improve the situation,” he said, adding that many officers were motivated solely by a desire to fine people and get bribes.

In a statement last month, Phnom Penh Governor Pa Socheatvong said the new officers would target “approximately 100 congested points in Phnom Penh”.

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