30% admit offering bribe to avoid traffic ticket

Monday, February 18, 2019

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A combined 30 per cent of people questioned by pollster Bill Johnson's research team last month admitted to bribing a police officer to avoid being issued with a traffic ticket.

When the pollsters asked: “Have you ever given something to a police officer, or done a favour for him, so that he would not give you a traffic ticket that you probably deserved to get?” 17 per cent of respondents said yes.

At the same time, the pollsters' follow-up question: “Have you ever given something to a police officer, or done a favour for him so that he would not give you a traffic ticket that you did not deserve to get?” saw 13 per cent of respondents saying yes.

The Jamaica Observer-commissioned poll saw Johnson and his team of researchers canvassing the views of 1,008 Jamaicans islandwide between January 21 and 24, 2019. The poll has a sampling error of plus or minus three per cent.

Last December, the issue of police officers taking bribes from motorists was addressed by Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson at the Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange.

He said that for the next few months special attention will be given to professional standards, including anti-corruption strategies and the issue of accountability within the police force.

“The truth is that we have to build back that, because what used to be the anti-corruption branch of the force was removed and put at MOCA (Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency). Now, as MOCA becomes a separate entity, we have to have enough anti-corruption capacity to deal with most things. MOCA will largely be dealing with national and, perhaps, high-level [matters] within the force and wider public sector type of corruption. We have to deal with 'lef and write',” General Anderson said.

'Lef or write' is the term used to describe the act in which motorists are given the option of paying police officers on the spot to avoid being ticketed for a traffic offence or choosing for that officer to write the ticket.

“We have a strategy. It was used in the past, and we will roll it out [again] and as you see it roll out more will come,” he said.

Tomorrow, the final poll in this series: Will voters punish the PNP for voting against extending the state of emergency?

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