BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
MORALE has reportedly hit rock bottom in the police force due to poor conditions of service including low salaries.
This was revealed yesterday in Parliament by chairperson of the Defence and Home Affairs Portfolio Committee Levi Mayihlome, while presenting a report on the state of police stations.
Mayihlome said the country’s policing system was collapsing with infrastructure at police posts across the provinces in bad shape.
“There is dilapidated institutional and residential accommodation, poor ablution facilities resulting in officers opting for the bush system, obsolete office furniture, inadequate tools of trade, use of ineffective policing equipment which is inconsistent with contemporary policing technology, and inadequate transport and fuel supplies,” Mayihlome said.
“These are signs and symptoms of an ailing policing system. The morale of officers across the entire police service is at its lowest ebb despite their demonstration of resilience and patriotism.”
He said the challenges experienced due to underfunding had the potential to collapse the whole policing system due to increased indiscipline and poor service delivery.
Mayihlome said police should be allowed to retain the money they collect as fines.
“Previously, retention funds were used on critical expenditure items such as goods and services, institutional requirements, maintenance, construction projects and acquisition of capital assets.
“Accountability mechanisms can be put in place to ensure that funds are used responsibly and transparently. They need to develop their infrastructure and manpower levels to improve service delivery, purchase office equipment and furniture and bolster public confidence by July 2022.”
He said police stations needed to be electrified by June 2022, adding that the Local Government ministry should avail land for construction of institutional accommodation.
Mayihlome also said police needed clothing, hardship, subsistence and cycle allowances, as well as capacity building on policing strategies.
“The morale of members of the police service has sharply decreased. Public confidence in the police service is critical for peace and order to prevail in the country. Being the face of the nation, the department needs to be adequately resourced.”
He said government should prioritise use of information communication technology by the police and should address all resource gaps.