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MIA claim some try to mislead people over hidden patrolling

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, February 12
The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) has released a special statement in which the body explained that the contactless patrolling has nothing to do with surveillance, as was being speculated by some politicians and media outlets.

The Ministry stressed that the “continual misinterpretation of the issue” was aimed at misleading the public, when monitoring the traffic through cameras installed in various places unknown to drivers served only safety purposes.

The Free Democrats opposition party, along with some members of the Republican Party and some parts of civil society, stated that this type of patrolling might constitute a violation of human rights and that individuals should know that they were under observation.

On this note, the MIA announced that over the last few years, the number of vehicles in Georgia has increased, which has raised the risk of accidents by 20%.

“Our main task is to protect the lives and safety of citizens; therefore, we are obliged to take effective measures in this regard.

“We would like to emphasise that the contactless patrolling, as well as the traffic safety project serve the most important value - human life and safety. “

The Ministry stressed that the approach worked in a range of European states “very effectively”.

The MIA explained that contactless patrolling is not aimed at apprehending or following any previously targeted person or any group of people; it involves the whole traffic process without identification of any individual. Contactless patrolling identifies only a vehicle that violates traffic rules.

The Ministry’s statement read that contactless patrolling protected everyone on the roads - pedestrians, passengers and drivers - even when police patrols are not in the area.

According to the draft of the Ministry, which is awaiting approval by Parliament, contactless patrolling will have no impact on driving licenses, and even drivers apprehended for traffic violations will not lose points which could cause them to have to repeat a driving test.

In December 2015, the MIA announced the launching of new traffic security methods; contactless patrolling was part of the programme. The authors of the draft stated that drivers were more cautious when they did not know where the cameras were installed on roads.