59 road offences in two and a half months: Police

Police Commissioner Albert Nalpini apologised for his force's failure to attend a recent fatal road wreck and committed the force to doing better.

Police have recorded 59 road traffic offences which involves collisions, crashes or accidents in the first two and a half months of this year.

According to statistics from the Police Commissioner Albert Nalpini, 27 of these incidents occurred in January alone, 23 in February and nine so far this month.

Five of the accidents were fatal accidents.

Most of the accidents were alcohol-related involving Hyundai buses and drivers of between 18 to 25 years old, he said.

The Vanuatu Police Force (VPF) have faced some criticisms on social media for arriving late and being absent at the scene of one of the accidents, which led to crime scene disruption and in some other cases, investigation delay.

Commissioner Nalpini, on behalf of VPF has apologized to the public in a press conference held yesterday (Tuesday) at the same time, outlined the ways forward to avoid further unnecessary scene examination delays and addressing traffic offences .

Usually in accidents, emergency crews are always faster than police.

Commissioner Nalpini explained: “Our police officers are not trained to attend fatal accidents.

“They are trained to properly protect crime scenes”.

However, he conveyed he has instructed the Police Professional Standard Unit to take full disciplinary action against members who failed to perform.

Shortage of manpower and finance is hindering VPF to operate efficiently, Commissioner Nalpini added.

The amendment of the Road Traffic Control Act, to realize the introduction of breathalyzer and give police the power to make breath tests and hold drivers accountable is one of the ways forward.

Commissioner Nalpini said VPF will strengthen its joint operation with other stakeholders such as municipal wardens, for regular patrolling.

As part of this, police have re-introduced their night patrol since last weekend, and have confiscated 33 vehicles in two hours from drivers found drinking while driving and those without valid licenses and permits.

Partnering with stakeholders to conduct more awareness for road users is another way forward.

Mr Nalpini stressed: “We (the police) have put a lot of effort into awareness yet, there is still room for improvement”.

The Police Commissioner then called on all citizens to help police in their campaign of not drinking while driving to boost positive driving behavior on the road.

Also, citizens are requested to provide details or any information on road offences that will assist police investigation.

“Police alone cannot address the problem. We need everyone’s help,” he said.

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