A Fair Cop
A chance look at the paper online this week threw up a delightful snippet; the city of Rome has just appointed its first female traffic cop. Cristina Corbucci is the first female traffic controller to stand on the retractable podium in Rome’s famous Piazza Venezia. The podium rises up from the cobblestones at the flick of a switch.
Today, about six or seven traffic cops take to the podium in shifts. Corbucci, 43, is quoted as saying that the job now has ‘the female touch’. ‘Up there you really feel as if you are in the centre-of-the-centre of Rome,’ she said, adding that ‘the truly intelligent traffic light is this one’.
We don’t have an equivalent in the UK, although I did entertain the idea of having a female traffic policewoman in the centre of Trafalgar Square. Or maybe there could be four of them, standing on the lions at each corner which could be reengineered to raise and lower majestically. I fear this would lead to a circus-like environment so doubt very much whether it will have any mileage.
However, I bet you didn’t know where female traffic cops abound and have very high status? Yes, it’s in Pyongyang in North Korea. Being one of the ‘faces of Pyongyang’ is considered to be highly desirable; the women who succeed to these posts are usually young, good-looking and tall and some have their own ‘fan’ pages with dedicated followers. As well as being eye candy in their blue uniforms for tourists – who goes to North Korea for their summer holidays, I wonder? – they do have high status for managing traffic flows. Indeed, particularly successful ones can be singled out for special honours, while another perk of the job is free housing and healthcare plus an extra 300 gm of food per day over and above the average citizen’s allocation of 500 gm.
Heading west from Pyongyang, sooner or later you get to Pakistan, where I learned that only this month, i.e March 2021, in a first, Karachi police appointed two lady traffic constables as patrol motorcycle riders in the city, to keep an eye on traffic violations. Karachi Police Chief, Additional IG Ghulam Nabi Memon, congratulated the two women and said that the step was taken in line with the policy of Sindh Police to promote women’s empowerment.
As part of this policy, I read about Aneela Naz, from a very conservative village called Lakki Marwat, who broke all stereotypes by recently getting promoted to Deputy Superintendent of Police in the Vehicle License Authority of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. She had to endure considerable opprobrium from her local community, but now is being feted as a local heroine.
Finally, in Malaysia a few years ago, in an effort to improve the negative perception of traffic policemen, the state of Selangor launched the country’s first all-female traffic police team. It was reported that motorists were responding more favourably to female traffic officers than to their male counterparts. The initiative is called TWEET, which stands for Traffic Women Estimable Enforcement Team. So now you know.