Good going our police force

11 Feb, 2024 - 00:02 0 Views
Good going our police force Editor's Brief

The Sunday Mail

Victoria Ruzvidzo

Editors Brief

IT is not everyday that we commend the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) for doing a great job in combating crime.

It is not that we are ignorant of their exploits, but that these are sometimes drowned or dwarfed by cases of corruption, real or perceived, emanating from the law-enforcement agents.

These tend to steal the limelight, as is generally the case in most instances.

However, today we specifically commend our police force for registering great success, particularly in recent months, where they have busted gangs of armed robbers that have been terrorising our citizenry.

Some people have lost valuables worth thousands of dollars, while others have lost their lives.

Banks and other companies have not been spared as the robbers wreak havoc countrywide.

Zimbabwe has been infiltrated by seasoned armed robbers and murderers from neighbouring South Africa, but the police have managed to track down some of the gangs.

High-profile criminals have been accounted for, while a few have gone into hiding.

They know it is just a matter of time before the police catch them.

They have become that vigilant. It is in this regard that we applaud the ZRP for a job well done.

Security and peace are national interests that have to be upheld at all costs.

The ZRP has specialised units, such as the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and the Support Unit, which are trained to handle specific types of crimes.

These units have helped enhance the ZRP’s effectiveness in dealing with complex and organised criminal activities.

One of their major successes has been the drug and substance abuse campaign.

There is still a long way to go but the police have covered quite some ground in the last few months.

By the end of last year, they had seized drugs and other illegal substances worth $3,5 billion and, in the process, 13 522 people were arrested.

This is no mean achievement and as a nation, we trust that they will do even better this year to rid society of the scourge that threatens to decimate the next generation.

Drug lords have created well-knit supply systems that require the police and other stakeholders to summon their all to sniff these out.

A few other high-profile cases that have been dealt with by our law-enforcement agents include the following:

On July 31, 2023, detectives from CID Homicide arrested four suspects in connection with a case of robbery that occurred at Insindi Ranch, Gwanda, the day before. The robbers attacked three family members and stole US$7 800 cash and other valuables.

On December 19, 2023, detectives from CID Homicide arrested five suspected robbers following a shootout in Arcadia, Harare.

These included two South African nationals. Two of the robbers succumbed to injuries sustained during the shootout.

In another case, detectives from CID Vehicle Theft Squad, Harare, arrested 10 suspects in connection with six counts of robbery, which occurred in and around the city between October 25, 2023 and December 13, 2023.

On January 13 this year, detectives from CID Drugs and Narcotics, Harare, arrested Norah Makwavarara (40) and Dexter Muteredhe (34) in connection with unlawful possession of crystal meth.

On December 29, 2023, police in Beatrice arrested seven suspects in connection with unlawful allocation of land at Longlands, Tantalom and Dabreek farms.

These cases and many more show the critical role played by the police in combating crime in this country. Their approach to crime prevention and control surpasses many law-enforcement agencies on the continent.

Furthermore, the presence of police officers in communities acts as a deterrent to potential criminals.

The visibility of law-enforcement personnel can discourage criminal activities and make the public feel safer. It is a known fact that the ZRP is always up to the task and delivers in that regard.

The public, time and again, express their confidence in the ZRP, and this is progressive.

The ZRP conducts investigations into reported crimes, which, more often than not, lead to the identification and apprehension of suspects.

This contributes to the overall detection and prosecution of criminals, providing justice to victims and their families.

Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga is on record charging his forces to ensure law and order prevail in the country.

“To that end, all elements who engage in activities that border on criminality and, worse still, those acts that are either overtly or covertly calculated to throw this country into anarchy, must be dealt with decisively,” he has said.

In its many initiatives, The ZRP has implemented community policing initiatives aimed at building trust and collaboration between the police and the public. This approach encourages citizens to actively participate in crime prevention efforts and provides an avenue for the exchange of information between the police and the community.

We have seen many incidents where the public share or expose acts that require police investigations on social media and the ZRP then moves in to investigate.

These engagements are quite positive and reflect harmony between the two parties. Such a symbiotic relationship goes a long way in ensuring law and order are maintained across the country. The ZRP always comes through and the officers’ efforts are very much appreciated.

The ZRP provides training programmes to its officers, equipping them with the necessary skills and knowledge to combat crime effectively. Training enhances the professionalism of the police force and improves their ability to handle various situations.

There are, however, some challenges.

A few bad apples in the police force engage in corruption and this decreases the whole force’s credibility, something they really do not need. There is need for vigilance to alleviate such incidents.

The ZRP conducts public safety campaigns to raise awareness on crime prevention and educate the public on safety measures.

These campaigns seek to empower individuals and communities with knowledge and strategies to protect themselves from criminal activities and are very much appreciated.

Collaboration with stakeholders, including Government agencies, non-governmental organisations and community leaders, to develop and implement crime prevention strategies is also applauded.

This collaborative approach helps in identifying and addressing the root causes of crime and fosters a sense of shared responsibility in combating criminal activities, so kudos to the ZRP.

The increase in the number of vehicles on the roads has also meant that the ZRP moves in to enforce road safety regulations. Their presence on the roads helps reduce traffic violations and contributes to the prevention of accidents and related crimes, although, of course, in some instances, they are said to cause more chaos and ask for bribes to let offenders off the hook.

This has been a cause for concern and action needs to be taken to ensure roadblocks are not money-making spots for some members of the force.

The ZRP also offers specialised training programmes for its officers in areas such as forensic investigation, cybercrime and counterterrorism, enhancing their expertise in dealing with specific types of crimes.  This enables them to keep up with evolving criminal techniques.

The agents have also gained international recognition and a good reputation. Over the past few years, several officers have been deployed under the United Nations to maintain peace in some countries across the globe.

Last year, some officers were deployed to South Sudan on a peace-keeping mission, while a female officer was appointed police adviser (strategic advice and coordination) in Somalia.

Locally, public engagement programmes, including community meetings, public forums and discussions where community members can voice their concerns, ask questions and provide feedback to the police, have also helped. Such initiatives provide opportunities for the police to address community issues, clarify misconceptions and build relationships based on trust and mutual respect.

The ZRP’s strong social media presence has been a winner. They have established official social media accounts to disseminate information, share updates on crime prevention efforts and interact with the public.

Through social media, the ZRP has been sharing constant updates on cases, investigations and also acted on information brought to them via social media.

Social media platforms provide an accessible and transparent channel for the public to communicate with the police and vice versa, and the ZRP has recognised its importance in communication and public engagements.

The ZRP has also established systems to address complaints and allegations of police misconduct. These mechanisms have provided channels for individuals to report incidents of misconduct, abuse or violations by police officers.

By addressing complaints promptly and transparently, the ZRP demonstrates accountability and fosters trust in the police force, both of which are commendable.

The ZRP has made efforts to combat crime through deterrence, investigations, community policing and specialised units.

Such a symbiotic relationship between the ZRP and the general citizenry goes a long way in ensuring law and order are maintained across the country.

Overall, the ZRP has made efforts to combat crime through deterrence, investigations and community policing. We acknowledge the efforts and results achieved so far while imploring the police force to do more.

In God I trust!

 

X handle: @VictoriaRuzvid2; Email: [email protected]; [email protected]; WhatsApp number: 0772 129 972.

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