After roadblocks ban, miffed cops refuse to go on street patrols; spend time in offices on WhatsApp

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By Mashonaland East Correspondent

MARONDERA: Junior police officers, unhappy with a recent decision to drastically reduce the number of roadblocks across the country, are resisting new duties such as foot patrols.

The disgruntled cops are choosing instead to spend time at police stations chatting on WhatsApp platforms, a senior police officer has here has complained.

A decision was made last December to reduce the number of police roadblocks across the country following a national outcry that they were unnecessary and had become a menace as police officers manning them were fleecing motorists on flimsy charges.

However, according the officer commanding Marondera district, Superintendent Khama, the decision has proved to be unpopular with junior police officers who are resisting orders to patrol the streets and are instead spending time in their offices chatting on social media platforms.

Khama was addressing police officers in Marondera town this week at the launch of the “Police Visibility Patrols”, a programme that seeks to encourage junior police officers to embrace foot patrols.

“You cannot do selective duties.  One cannot choose which work to do or not to do.  We should not even shy from our work,” he said.

“Leaving an area of patrol without permission, loitering or sleeping in one’s car whilst on duty will not be able to reduce crime. Police officers are remaining in the comfort of their offices, busying themselves on WhatsApp platforms.”

The senior cop said having police officers on the streets and known crime prone areas would reduce the crime rate in the country.

“Remaining stuck in our offices will not help an elderly woman being harassed by touts some 500 metres from the police station,” he said.

“Those who made the mistake of taking the police oath should submit their resignation papers. That would help the nation. The ZRP should not be home for desperate jobseekers. Only those committed to duty should remain as police officers.

“The days of undisciplined officers are numbered while the days of the disciplined officers are surely guaranteed. We have sufficient artillery to deal with them.”

‘Be proud of foot patrols’

The ZRP chief urged the police officers to be proud of their foot patrols, have good cheer and be gracious to members of the public. He also asked his juniors to exercise restraint and not to assault offenders and show respect at all times.

“Be the light that shines in the dark.  Let’s make Zimbabwe a safe destination for local, regional and international investment,” Khama pleaded.

An international report released last year showed that the ZRP is one of the world’s worst police forces in the world.

According to the World Internal Security and Police Index (WISPI), Zimbabwe ranks 102 out of the 127 countries surveyed.

The ZRP fared worse in policing than other war-torn countries such as Yemen and Sudan, as is only slightly better than the Liberian police.