Ray Nkosi | Acting Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga has said indiscipline in the police service was caused by lack of supervision within ranks, indirectly attacking former police boss Augustine Chihuri.
Under Chihuri the ZRP cops had become a public menace popular for corruption and brutality against innocent civillians.
The state media reports that Matanga said this while addressing Senior Assistant Commissioners commanding provinces among other senior police officers in Harare yesterday where he pledged to end corruption in the service.
The acting ZRP boss said police officers should introspect as they reform to gain public confidence.
“May I, therefore, urge all of us to self-introspect, accept that our challenges emanate from lack of or inadequate supervision and unbecoming actions by some of our members which have no doubt eroded public trust, faith and confidence in the Police Service,” said acting Comm Gen-Matanga.
He said there is a need to see more activity by supervisors on the ground.
“The young police officers need our constant and regular guidance so that they do not stray and malign the good name and image of the police service,” Acting Comm-Gen Matanga said.
He said refresher, developmental and induction courses would be conducted with renewed vigour so that all officers have in-depth knowledge of police work.
Customer satisfaction, professionalism, respect, courteousness and restraint, Acting Comm-Gen Matanga said, will be the epitome of all police activities.
“As we thank the President Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa for bestowing his trust on us to continue serving as members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, I urge you not to abuse this trust. Never should we act contrary to the oaths we took to serve the people of Zimbabwe with unbending fortitude, professionalism and loyalty,” Acting Comm-Gen Matanga said.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police shall never again work in manners that will make it lose confidence and trust of the people it serves. When the people speak, we ought to listen attentively. Need I remind you of the well publicised message from His Excellency, President E.D Mnangagwa that, the voice of the people is the voice of God?”
The acting police chief said they were going to roll out a battery of measures to improve their way of doing business in order to connect with the people.
He said as a disciplined police service, they know their limits and the need to strictly abide by the police code of conduct.
He assured the nation that the ZRP would be heavily deployed, patrolling all communities both urban and rural.
Acting Comm-Gen Matanga said they will also be conducting traffic awareness campaigns in an effort to curb road carnage and encouraging members of the public to drive safely on the roads.
He said President Mnangagwa assured the nation that the forthcoming elections would be conducted in a peaceful and democratic environment.
“As members of the ZRP, we have an important role in facilitating the provisioning of such envisaged environment. Let us whole-heartedly rally behind the new Government’s efforts of rebuilding a peaceful and prosperous Zimbabwe,” he said.
Acting Comm Gen Matanga said the concerns of members of the public were now common knowledge and most of concerns arose from traffic law enforcement.
“Complaints are double-pronged. Firstly, they serve as a feedback from the users of our service and secondly they are an indicator of matters that need to be addressed in our planning and implementation strategies.
“That, the Zimbabwe Republic Police, like most modern police organisations, derive their legitimacy from the people, is beyond doubt. As an organisation, we long accepted this view point and committed ourselves to continuous learning under public scrutiny,” he said.
He added: “Indeed, our Code of Conduct, the Police Client Service Charter and all our policies emphasise the need for professionalism in the discharge of our policing mandate at all times. We are obliged to take heed of matters that are of concern to the public as they have a right to point our mistakes.
“And at times, do not expect them to use restrained language in doing so. Where need be, our ongoing desire should be to use the complaints as a yardstick of reforming and re-engineering our services.”
Acting Comm-Gen Matanga said there were a number of occasions when some of their members had been found wanting or caught on the wrong side of the law.
He said discipline was the cornerstone of all police work and regular training coupled with enhanced supervision will ensure that their members abide by their disciplinary code.
He said the force had been tarnished through continued acts of corruption by unscrupulous elements in their midst.
He said more stringent measures would be undertaken to rid the force of corruption.
“In this regard, the Zimbabwe Republic Police shall render swift justice to perpetrators of corruption and other criminal acts through undertaking thorough investigations,” Acting Comm-Gen Matanga said.
“Quite pointedly, there are circumstances that put the Zimbabwe Republic Police in an unfavourable position. As we acknowledge whatever mistakes or misdeeds could have occurred in the past, we need to seriously focus into the future and work hard to rebuild the organisation’s image and a peaceful and crime-free Zimbabwe.”
He said he was fully aware of the resource constraints that impede on police operations and assured the officers that Government was fully seized with the matter.
The meeting was attended by Deputy Commissioner-Generals Innocent Matibiri (human resources), Levie Sibanda (operations) and Josephine Shambare (crime), commissioners, senior assistant commissioners and assistant commissioners.
Meanwhile, the police have pleaded with the public to cooperate with their officers as they execute their constitutional mandate while promising to offer a people oriented service.
Police on Monday assumed their normal day to day policing duties at the end the Zimbabwe Defence Forces’ Operation Restore Legacy which had resulted in the reduction of police visibility on the streets.
Members of the public have said they expect to see a disciplined and reformed police force.
Speaking on televised Crime Watch programme on ZBC on Tuesday, national police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said law enforcement agents have heard the public’s pleas and are promising a reformed service.
“We are really committed to ensure that all our officers and members offer quality services to all our stakeholders. We appreciate and acknowledge all of your concerns. We are in the process of reforming all our programmes and activities to ensure that they are people centred. We appeal to the public to please cooperate with our officers as they execute their constitutional mandate,” said Snr Asst Comm Charamba.
She urged members of the public to be responsible during the festive season.
Snr Asst Comm Charamba said the public should guard against common crimes like rape, robbery and housebreaking during the festive holidays.
“Gender based violence cases go up during the festive season because some people become too excited, some people do not take precautions. Travelling people should leave someone at home to ensure that premises are secure,” said Snr Asst Comm Charamba.
She urged public transport operators not to overwork their employees saying fatigue contributes to fatal accidents.
“To the public service operators please allow the driver to rest as fatigue contributes to most of the fatal road traffic accidents. Some accidents are also caused by speeding motorists. All motorists should be responsible and respect other road users, pedestrians also have a right to use the road.”
“In an analysis of road traffic accidents involving pedestrians that was conducted by ZRP, it was established that the major cause of fatalities is speeding, negligent pedestrian, inattention and misjudgement, vehicle defect and braking errors,” she said.
Snr Asst Comm Charamba urged the public not to cross flooded rivers as they risk drowning.