A reader of Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper recalled seeing a group of ward police officers set up a checkpoint in front of their headquarters in Hanoi and book commuters for their traffic violations.
There were no traffic police at the time, and traffic violators were requested to pull over and enter the police headquarters, the reader stated, asking whether or not ward police are authorized to deal with traffic offenses.
Under Article 11 of Circular No. 12/2010, ward- and commune-level police are responsible for coordinating with the traffic police force in performing the task of ensuring traffic order and safety in their locale.
This must comply with the provisions of the law and the guidance of higher-level police units.
Article 3 of Decree No. 27/2010 stipulates ward and commune police are only mobilized to coordinate with traffic police in necessary cases, and the mobilization must be decided in writing by a designated person.
The necessary cases include the period when major anniversaries, socio-political events, and cultural and sports activities of the country and localities take place; peak periods to ensure traffic order and safety under the direction of the Ministry of Public Security; and when traffic jams and accidents become serious and complicated.
If not accompanied by traffic police officers, ward and commune police shall patrol and control the traffic according to plans approved by competent authorities.
Ward and commune police are allowed to independently patrol and control traffic, but they must comply with the plans and decisions issued by higher-level police forces.
They are only permitted to patrol, control traffic, and deal with traffic violations on streets within their corresponding areas, and must not pull over vehicles on national highways and provincial roads.
Ward and commune police are authorized to handle violations such as failure to wear a crash helmet, illegal parking, speeding, carrying more than the prescribed number of people, and transporting bulky goods, among others.
On-duty officers can issue warnings or fines worth up to VND500,000 (US$21.3).
The head of a ward police station is authorized to issue warnings, impose a fine of up to VND2.5 million ($106.6), and confiscate related items worth VND5 million ($213) or less.