Malaysia's first female traffic police team goes on field duty

PETALING JAYA, Malaysia - Traffic police here are trying a "softer" approach by having an all-woman enforcement team to man roadblocks.

The new Traffic Women Estimable Enforcement Team (Tweet) comprises six officers and is the first all-woman traffic patrol team in the country.

PJ Traffic Police chief Deputy Supt Mohamad Roy Suhaimi Sarif said having an all-female team may improve situations at roadblocks psychologically.

"We have had complaints that perhaps male officers were too aggressive or intimidated motorists while some motorists refused to cooperate, even when officers just wanted to give them a warning, rather than a summons. They reacted defensively or tried to instigate officers.

"This doesn't lead to very professional enforcement," he said.

DSP Mohamad Roy said that hopefully with the softer approach, motorists would respond better to their officers.

"The women officers can appear less aggressive and easier for motorists to work with," he said.

He added that Tweet was also a means of providing more field experience for female officers in his unit as most of them had been desk-bound.

"This is also an image improvement for the unit. PJ as an urban area sees less difference between men and women, and we can reflect that.

"Most female officers get stuck with administrative work and don't get the chance to be out in the field. If this team is successful, we can request for more women to try out for enforcement work," he said, adding that the officers had to undergo enforcement courses first.

One male officer would be stationed with the women on their rounds in case motorists turn aggressive, said DSP Mohamad Roy.

Insp Hariati Hamdan, who leads the team of six, said the plan with Tweet seemed to be working thus far.

"Some motorists were surprised that we were all women. However, they seemed more open to admit their offences and talk with us," she said while manning a roadblock along Persiaran Tropicana yesterday.