The items which were purchased by the ministry include: three speed radars or speed guns, five breathalyzer or alcohol detectors and 500 copies of accident reporting templates for data capturing.
The equipment would help build the capacity of the members of The Gambia Police Force mobile traffic unit, the main beneficiary of the equipment in their quest to fight road traffic offences and minimise road accidents by ensuring that sanity is maintained on our roads especially the highways.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony, Mod K. Ceesay, permanent secretary, Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure described the presentation of the equipment to The Gambia Police Force as very timely and symbolic as the number of road traffic accidents are on the increase in the country due to many factors such as speeding, careless driving and drink-driving among others.
He explained that the speed radars would be able to determine at what speed a particular driver is driving if stopped by the police, while the breathalyzer will show the amount of alcohol content taken by a driver at the time of accident .
Furthermore, he said the accident reporting templates will also greatly help the police in recording accidents accurately and in an orderly manner.
“Supporting and assisting the police in any way that would minimise road traffic accidents in the country is commendable and is in the right direction. This ministry has lot more bigger agenda to pursue which is in line with road safety and easy flow of traffic in the country, through coordination as a first step in the designing of policy measures geared towards empowering traffic law enforcement and road safety agencies responsible for road safety to be able to do their work better and efficiently,” he said.
PS Ceesay further called on all stakeholders to join hands with The Gambia Police Force in carrying the heavy load of traffic related issues on their shoulders in a way and manner that would ease the burden on the police.
“We are all into this together. The police are the lead agency for this and they need our support as well. Again, these equipment would not only help the police in carrying out their functions very well, but will boost their morale in line with their work, he said.
On vehicle certification and licencing, PS Ceesay explained that the ministries of Transport, Work and Infrastructure and Interior at some point in time would come up with mechanisms that would subject old vehicles especially commercial vehicles to regular testing to determine whether they are worthy of plying our roads.
“We would want to see a situation where those who drives are actually professional drivers and are qualified to drive and are medically fit as well. Cameras would also be fixed at some areas as a way of identifying and possible prosecution of offenders on our roads,” he pointed out.
Lamin King Colley, commissioner Police Mobile Traffic, thanked the Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure for purchasing such valuable equipment for The Gambia Police Force.
“Prosecuting road traffic offenders are sometimes a nightmare due to the fact that police would not have enough or sufficient evidences to argue their cases in court. But with these equipment in place, our job is now going to be easier than ever before,” he said.
The police commissioner lamented over the frequent road accidents occurring on our roads as majority of those accidents ended up in fatalities, adding that his unit will renew their resolve to ensure that road accidents are drastically reduced to zero in the country.
King maintained that the equipment came at the right time and therefore, assured the ministry that the donated equipment would be put into good use.
Momodou Senghore, managing director of The National Roads Authority, said the donated equipment came at the right time as the road network of the country is increasing likewise the number of vehicles plying the roads.
“So really we expect accident rates to go up daily. This is why it is important to put in place measures to mitigate accidents on the roads. I think this is a milestone by acquiring some of these gadgets for The Gambia Police Force,” he said.
The presentation which lasted for about an hour, was chaired by Essa Drammeh, director of Transport, Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure.
By Lamin Njie
Assistant Information Officer
Ministry of Transport, Works & Infrastructure