Opposition MP grills Home Affairs Minister on non-emergency vehicles using sirens and Police flashing lights

Opposition Member of Parliament, Geeta- Chandan Edmund, during the consideration of budget estimates today said the issue continues to make its way to the Parliament and the promise by the government to have it addressed seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

Opposition MP grills Home Affairs Minister on non-emergency vehicles using sirens and Police flashing lights

The long and contentious issue of flashing lights and sirens being used by private vehicles, made its way to the floor of the National Assembly again today.

During the consideration of the budget estimates, Opposition Member of Parliament, Geeta- Chandan Edmund, highlighted the issue and said it is one that is a worrying one for the public, but noted that the government does not seem too concerned about it.

The former Magistrate said the use of flashing lights and sirens on private vehicles is at a crisis level, since persons who are not authorized to have the lights on their vehicles have been using them during peak hours and causing chaos on the roadways.

“Police lights are available for sale and people put them up and misuse them, there are a few situation for senior officials and also for diplomats where we have to have reciprocity in relation to the use of lights for emergency purposes and to be able to get to situations which requires getting to meetings or being able to respond to emergency situation,” the Home Affairs Minister said. 

The existing laws allow for emergency vehicles only to use the flashing emergency lights and sirens.

Police and Fire Service vehicles and Ambulances are the vehicles authorized, to carry sirens and flashing lights.

Any other type of vehicle fitted with such appliances would represent a breach of the law. 

However, several vehicles transporting Government Ministers and other state officials have been spotted with sirens and flashing lights.

 The Opposition MP said all of those vehicles would be operating in contravention of the laws.  The Home Affairs Minister dodged the direct concern raised, but said there may be a tweaking of the legislation coming.

“We have to tweak the legislation to take account of the changed situation, we have more traffic on the road and people cannot get to where they want in time or when there is a situation, but we have to deal with that issue,” Mr. Benn told the Committee of Supply.

Just recently, a number of Diplomatic vehicles were noticed with sirens and flashing emergency lights attached.

When the matter was raised with the Police, the Public Relations Department said permission was granted by the Home Affairs Minister and the Police Commissioner via the Traffic Chief.

That permission was granted even after the Police Force and the Home Affairs Minister both publicly declared last year that it was illegal for vehicles other than the listed emergency vehicles, to carry sirens and emergency flashing lights.

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