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Officers told to enforce law, act as role model

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An officer directs traffic in Phnom Penh’s southern Meanchey district on November 23, 2020. Hean Rangsey

Officers told to enforce law, act as role model

Deputy National Police Chief Sar Thet has advised police and civil servants to respect traffic laws, encouraging traffic police to be unafraid of enforcing the law on high-ranking officials because illegal driving remains a problem in Cambodia.

Sar Thet, who is also the Phnom Penh Municipal police chief, wrote on his Facebook page on November 23 that “both police forces and civil servants must be a good model for the people in obeying traffic laws. Please drive carefully and respect traffic laws at all times”.

Thet also made it clear that all traffic officials must comply with the law and crack down on those who drive illegally. He urged traffic police to take equal action on all drivers who break the law, regardless of rank, and fine them accordingly.

From November 1 to November 22, 16,398 vehicles were fined across the Kingdom, according to a report from the Department of Traffic Police and Public Order. On November 22 alone, over 1,000 offenders were handed fines nationwide.

Municipal police spokesman San Sok Seiha told The Post on November 23 the reason behind Sar Thet’s order was that a small number of officials continued to make mistakes that hurt the image of other civil servants and set a bad example for citizens.

“As police forces, as general civil servants, it means they are the representative of the nation and the representative of those institutions. So, in terms of these issues, they should be a role model because they are also the enforcers of the law,” said Sok Seiha, adding that people can identify government agencies or officials by their license plates.

San Chey, executive director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, said the police chief’s order was a reminder that some government and armed forces officials were still setting bad examples for the people.

He said a small number of armed forces officials were still violating traffic laws, such as driving through traffic lights, driving recklessly or causing violence.

Kong Sovann, technical adviser and deputy director of Community Traffic Safety Program team of Rural Road Development Project Phase 2 of the Ministry of Rural Development, said he would like to see more such warnings to remind civil servants and the armed forces on a regular basis.

He said that doing so is very important because law enforcement officials are public role models.

Sovann said that he wants all officials to implement the law equally to avoid the existence of double standards that lead to loss of trust from citizens.

“If more and more officials can be role models, it is the right start and the right way for the people to obey the law of the country,” he said.

“If not, there will still be people who use the excuse of not respecting the law if police and soldiers do not respect the same law.”

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