The right to stop: how they plan to expand police powers over drivers

The right to stop: how they plan to expand police powers over drivers 150 150 Esquires

And what shall drivers, pedestrians and businesses expect from new initiatives.

Using news about drunk drivers and terrible car accidents, as well as the long-standing negative impression of Ukrainian roads, the government plans to give police officers more appropriate powers. Both business and citizens will notice such changes.

What and how they suggest to change and what shell expect all interested parties, the partner of Esquires, the head of the Practice of criminal law and business protection, lawyer Opanas Karlin told to Mind.

Weighted and UNhappy

From June 20 to August 31, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine authorized the National Police, together with the State Service of Ukraine for Transport Safety (Ukrtranssafety), to form working groups for weight and size control. The proclaimed goal is to prevent the destruction of roads during periods of high air temperatures.

As a result, there are trucks traffic jams at night along the Boryspil highway towards Kiev – the working groups are working conscientiously. But such measures may not be temporary. Considering the president’s statement during his visit to Zaporozhzhia, there is a possibility of liquidation of Ukrtranssafety with the transfer of its powers to the police on an regular basis.

If we appeal to the Law of Ukraine “On the National Police”, we find 30 points of police powers, which are only basic. Even more tasks are listed in the Regulation on the National Police – more than 60.

Overburdening law enforcement bodies with work looks like a risky proposition, since the quality of work also depends on its quantity. Perhaps the number of fines when passing through weigh and size control will really increase, but whether this will help to save roads is a rhetorical question.

Will they catch up with us?

The adoption of bill No. 2695 on amending some legislative acts of Ukraine regarding the enhancement of responsibility for certain offenses in the field of road safety in the first reading did not receive wide publicity (Do not worry, there will be two more and the law may not be adopted). The legislator’s idea is to reduce the number of dangerous situations on the road. If you read it carefully, you can find new and expanded powers of the police, separately we want to point out four warning signs:

Everything is like in the movies

  • keep your hands within view of the policeman and do not leave the vehicle without permission;
  • turn off the vehicle engine and remove the ignition key (if any);
  • transfer for verification a driver’s license, a registration document for a vehicle, and in some cases – an insurance policy (moreover, directly into the hands, and not just show)
  • turn on the alarm;
  • get out of the vehicle;
  • comply with other requirements or orders of the police officer (ie the list is not exhaustive).

The more authority the police have over you when you stop, the more of them will be used, which doesn’t sound very inspiring. Moreover, it will be difficult to challenge the abuse of police powers in this situation. In continuation, we offer you the following proposed innovations for thought.

Game of hide-and-seek

If now the police can only ask to open the trunk and call the investigative-operational group in case of refusal, then the legislators want to provide an opportunity to fully inspect the trunk, cabin and hood, and in general everything that does not require taking into pieces the vehicle.

And instead of official witnesses, the policemen make records with a badge camera. In fact, we are talking about a full review instead of a cursory inspections of vehicles of any drivers, not just offenders.

Is it even worth talking about the risks of introducing such changes, especially when the badge camera is turned off?

Unplanned rendezvous

It is proposed to introduce a new, universal basis for stopping – checking drivers for alcohol, drug or other intoxication within the framework of preventive measures on the basis of an act of the head of the police. That means, such an act may not be issued on a permanent basis and throughout Ukraine – the legislation does not prohibit doing this. It is not required for police officers to have such an act in paper form – it is enough to publish it on the website of the National Police.

This means that it is quite possible for a law-abiding citizen to miss a plane or train through such an unexpected stop.

Besides, in order to check the above documents, a police officer is not obliged to prove that the stop of the vehicle was legal. This is indicated by the decision of the Supreme Court as part of the Cassation Administrative Court on September 25, 2019 in case No. 127/19283/17.

Signal, you are on hidden camera

Did you miss the latest jokes about traffic cops? Perhaps we will be given a reason to come up with new ones! It is proposed to add to the arsenal of the police a variety of means of recording, which are allowed to be installed without identification marks.

Police State or Safe Roads?

Improvement of legislation is usually well-intentioned. However, we can also see the risks that cover all the positives of such planned innovations. For the driver of a car or truck, such expanded police powers, on the other hand, will make each exit even more dangerous and stressful.

It remains to hope that the roads will really become smooth, and the number of accidents will decrease, although the connection between causes and consequences is very indirect …


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