Bulgarian Police Mull Ban on Routine Traffic Stops
Bulgaria's Interior Minister, Tsvetlin Yovchev, is working on ending random traffic stops and the bribing of traffic cops that often stems from them.
The idea was first voiced by his predecessor, Tsvetan Tsvetanov.
Speaking in an interview for the Bulgarian 24 Hours (24 Chassa) daily, Yovchev informs the concrete measures in reorganizing the work of traffic patrols and security police will be presented Thursday at a national meeting of the Interior Ministry.
The Minister further reported that the new and recently published instructions for traffic control include only four situations when a vehicle can be stopped – obvious traffic violations, transporting hazardous material, behavior that triggers suspicions of DIU and use of narcotics, and evidence the driver has been involved in a traffic accident.
The Minister further pledges stepping up control on police patrols in order to halt corruption practices, such as strictly reinforcing the existing rule that policemen must warn the driver he/she will be stopped before the actual stop.
He adds that drivers might not be stopped even for speeding as new technology allowed sending their citations and fines directly in the mail.
"My ambition is not to make traffic patrols fine drivers, but prevent violations and accidents," says the Minister.
There will be also changes in the ways to assess the work of traffic policemen, where the cited violations and the imposed fines would not be the leading factor, but rather preventing deadly and harmful accidents or acting in such in the road sector they monitor. Police patrols would be further ordered to stand before the dangerous road segments, not behind them, as they now often do, so that they can collect fines and even bribes.
Regarding security police, the Ministry is preparing an interactive map with crimes in different locations so that patrols can be sent to the most critical ones.
Yovchev says he expects serious resistance to the changes, but declares he was ready to implement them.
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