Jakarta. National Police Chief Listyo Sigit Prabowo has issued a landmark ruling that bans officers from issuing tickets for traffic offenders immediately at the scene.
The new ruling is meant to prevent traffic policemen from taking bribes, for which the police have gained notoriety for so long.
“The handling of traffic offenses must no longer involve manual penalties but it must involve the ETLE [Electronic Traffic Law Enforcement] system either by static or mobile devices and reprimands against offenders,” the police chief memo issued earlier this week said.
Traffic policemen are also ordered to “smile and greet” motorists when handling traffic issues.
In addition, all police officers are banned from “exhibiting lavish and hedonistic lifestyle”.
The move was taken several days after President Joko Widodo gathered Listyo and all provincial police chiefs at the State Palace following recent scandals involving top officers.
“We appreciate the national police chief’s commitment and firmness in eradicating the bad habit in his institution,” Ahmad Sahroni, the deputy chairman of the House of Representatives Legal Commission, said on Saturday.
“For police to combat bribes, they need a drastic change in the mentality and characters of officers,” he added.
Sahroni called the new ruling a major breakthrough towards police professionalism because it provides no room for bad cops.
There is one problem: the ETLE system is not fully available across the country.
However, the Police Traffic Corps (Korlantas) said they are ready to implement the electronic ticket system, which is currently available only in big cities.
“Korlantas has over 280 static devices and over 800 mobile devices to deal with traffic offenders under the ETLE system,” Korlantas law enforcement director Brig. Gen. Aan Suhanan said.
He said his team will prioritize an “instructive approach” in raising public awareness about traffic safety rather than pursue legal sanctions when dealing with minor offenses.