Does it have to take woman’s death to ban spikes?

In the most unfortunate incident, a woman died on Wednesday after Karoi municipal police officers threw spikes at a car, which led to the driver fleeing and tragically ploughing into the woman and her relatives, who were injured in the incident.

Comment: NewsDay Editor

A-traffic-police-officer-holding-a-spike-crossing-at-the-robots-in-Mbare

It is a mystery why police — both council and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) — have to resort to this primitive and barbaric way of traffic policing, hence, there is an urgent need for the government to curtail this practice before more lives are lost.

Police officers’ duties are to ensure peace and safety, but the use of spikes conveys the opposite message and instead conjures images of violence and melees.

Despite all police pronouncements, the use of spikes cannot be justified. There is need to come up with more modern ways of ensuring compliance with traffic laws.

For example, the police can instal cameras at intersections or road stretches where they believe traffic law violations are likely to occur and then follow up with fines.

While the initial outlay for this may prove to be expensive, in the long run it would be cheaper, needing less traffic police officers and, more importantly, it would be safer.

There is absolutely no need for police officers to throw spikes at moving vehicles, as this endangers the drivers, passengers, pedestrians — as in the Karoi case — and even the police detail.

Surely, ZRP and municipal police officers are more innovative and can come up with better methods of monitoring traffic rather than throwing spikes.

In that regard, we make a clarion call to the government to stop law enforcement agents from throwing spikes, unless there is absolute need and it is unavoidable, or otherwise more innocent lives will be lost.

It is sad that a life has been lost, but hopefully this opens the authorities’ eyes on how dangerous the use of spikes can be.

There is need for a total rethink on how law enforcement agents conduct themselves when dealing with road users, with safety being the most paramount virtue they should be concerned about.

As it is, the use of spikes portrays law enforcement agents as callous and greedy people, whose only regard is ensuring that they collect the most money in fines and bribes.

The Karoi incident should be a wake-up call and a realisation on the part of the authorities that throwing spikes is dangerous and there is no room for such an outdated policing method in this day and age.