Estcourt Police not breaking the law, but attending to an emergency

A police vehicle photographed driving in the incorrect direction in Phillip Street.

If you’re driving in the correct direction through the one-way street in Phillip Street and a police vehicle pops out in the opposite direction, what are your thoughts? Is it an emergency or is it breaking the law?

 ALSO READ: Residents advised to be careful on our roads

Since the one-way roads in Phillip and Alexandra streets began operating, it has taken some time for locals to become accustomed to the new route but it seems that traffic is now proceeding smoothly with local drivers obeying the one-way street rules during the day.

However, the Estcourt News has received at least three complaints from locals about police ‘abusing’ the one-way street. Some police officers who drive out through the gates in Phillip Street have taken to turning left into oncoming traffic.

READ THIS: One-way streets are a ‘money-making scheme’

Instead, according to the rules of this road, turning right with the flow of traffic. A photograph of a police vehicle doing exactly this was captured May 23 by an Estcourt News reporter.

It was promptly sent to the police spokesperson asking for a valid reason why this would happen. The Estcourt Station Commander Colonel Kheswa responded by saying that since the transformation of Phillip and Alexandra streets into a one-way road, police officers faced challenges and this forced officers to go against the flow at traffic when the need arises.

READ MORE: Kudos to resourceful Estcourt police

Colonel Kheswa explained that when attending to a complaint in Albert Street, police officers prefer to drive left into oncoming traffic, instead of through Phillip Street, into Alexandra Street, Harding Street before finally arriving at their destination in Albert Street.

“The complaint, which could take probably three minutes, can take almost 15 minutes, taking into account the parking and double parking in Alexandra Street,” he further explained.

A second challenge that compelled police to go against the one-way road rules was the safety of prisoners and officers whilst on their way to court.

“When taking the prisoners to court, you have to follow the same cycle and encounter delays before you reach the court, exposing the few members and prisoners to high risk,” said Colonel Kheswa.

According to the Station Commander, these issues were discussed with the municipality in an effort to seek a solution.

After the concerns were raised and taken into consideration, Colonel Kheswa says that the local municipality has created a ‘special/emergency lane for police.’

This however has not yet been confirmed by the municipality and currently there are no clear markings stating that this is an emergency lane.

So, if you turning down Phillip Street, be sure to be vigilant for police vehicles driving on the wrong side of the road in an unmarked lane, on their way to attend to an emergency and be polite!

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  AUTHOR
Ronelle Mungaroo
Editor

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