National Police chief Neth Savoeun warned Phnom Penh and provincial police chiefs to remove all roadblocks, saying that traffic police officials in some provinces had tightened traffic law implementation against guidelines.
In a leaked voice message which was shared on social media on Tuesday, Savoeun warned that all capital and provincial chiefs would be held accountable before the law if their respective provinces still put up roadblocks and made drivers stop for checks when they weren’t breaking the law.
Savoeun is recorded as saying: “Capital police chiefs need to think again. First, stop putting up the roadblocks. Second, [we] were clear that as long as drivers break the law, we call them for checks.
“Now it is being reported that on the roads, especially in Kampong Cham, Tbong Khmum and Mondulkiri provinces, drivers who don’t break the law are being called to pull over.
“Now, at this hour, this morning, all the roadblocks on National Roads in all provinces are to be removed. You police chiefs go inspect them and if any provinces still have them the police chiefs will be held accountable before the law.”
National Police spokesman Chhay Kim Khoeun on Tuesday expressed dissatisfaction at those who leaked the recording.
But he said that Savoeun gave the order because traffic police officials had enforced the law in a way opposed to the principles laid out by the senior leadership.
The leadership determined seven points for issuing fines to motorcycle riders for breaking the law and nine points for motorists. The leadership didn’t lay out guidelines for stopping drivers at roadblocks.
“Police officials put up the roadblocks which hurt the feelings of citizens who weren’t breaking the law.
“But if they drive cars using phones and not fastening seatbelts or they overtake another car inappropriately – a threat to safety on the road – then traffic policemen can call them for checks and fine them. [The police] even have the right to check for a driver’s licence,” Khoeun said.
He maintained that even though orders were issued to remove the roadblocks, police will be deployed on the road as before to monitor drivers who break the law.
Deputy National Police Commissioner and secretary-general of the National Road Safety Committee, Him Yan, recently said police had set the traffic violations.
The offences included motorcycle riders not wearing protective helmets, drinking and driving, disregarding traffic lights and signs, making turns without consideration for other road users, overtaking vehicles carelessly, and other such violations.
“Motorists overload goods, have no number plates, use phones, drive without a licence and don’t fasten seatbelts,” Yan said.