Police want to introduce new technology that captures biometric data of all driver’s licence holders under an initiative that will see offending motorists’ bank accounts being garnished when they fail to pay fines. The innovation also detects fake licences and is part of the Zimbabwe Republic Police’s digitalisation programme that began with launch of a website in Harare last Friday.
It will enable officers to issue Form 265 tickets and follow up on motorists who evade fines.
Tickets give offenders leeway to pay fines at their nearest police stations within seven days, but ZRP’s analogue record system has limited follow-up capacity.
This has seen police resort to spot fines, which High Court Judge Justice Francis Bere in 2015 said had no legislative backing.
National police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said: “The technology will allow us to first capture and store all the necessary details of each motorist (everyone with a licence) that we need. This will help us identify traffic offenders and follow them up.
“If one is ticketed and does not pay, then we can easily follow up using those details and bring them to book. This will also help us avoid situations where some motorists give false information to our officers manning roadblocks. With all these details, we can also see who the regular offenders are and appropriate legal action can be taken.”
Snr Asst Comm Charamba said they were still consulting on garnishing bank accounts.
“There I can’t really share much. A proper decision is yet to be made. We are still consulting to see what sort of legal implications such an option will have before we decide. At the moment, it is just a proposal.”
Legal expert Advocate Brian Dube said garnishing offenders’ bank accounts was unlikely to attract legal challenges, but, instead, increase traffic policing efficiency.
“Garnishes have always been there. For purposes of efficiency, I think that is the best option. It will also help curb corruption and police at roadblocks may no longer need to handle any cash,” he said.
“For the traffic offenders, the system will be convenient as no one will be detained at roadblocks for not having cash on them to pay fines. The advantage of garnishes is that money will go straight into State coffers.
If one is not satisfied with how their account was debited, they can always approach the courts for recourse.”