Source: Police presence critical for peace, social order – The Standard July 8, 2018
The euphoria that accompanied the November 2017 removal of former president Robert Mugabe and the ushering in of a new government order led by his ex-deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, saw the total removal of the police from the highways, city streets and generally everywhere.
Police became confined to their stations as the military took over a few police duties such as manning roadblocks and to a lesser extent, street patrols.
Although many people initially celebrated the move on account of the fact that police in Zimbabwe had become associated with corruption, it has now dawned on the people that police presence is essential for crime prevention and general social order.
Evidence now abounds to show that police absence results in chaos, breeds crime and translates to a huge cost to society through increased lawlessness and general disorder.
Even the new dispensation which removed police from their jobs, appear to be realising the folly of their mistake.
They have begun to slowly bring the law enforcers back to their jobs as evidenced by police visibility at road intersections where, without them, traffic jams could easily degenerate into massive public disorder.
The absence of police has seen unprecedented social decay manifesting itself in overnight multiplication of street vendors that have reduced city pavements into a nightmare. In this muddle crime has inevitably spiked as thieves and other criminals take advantage.
Without police patrols, there is no doubt cases of muggings, housebreaking, robberies, general violence and other common crimes have gone up everywhere across the country.
The removal of roadblocks has also left motorists and insurance companies exposed to costly risks owing to a deluge of lawlessness on our roads. Unlicensed drivers, unregistered and uninsured vehicles that have invaded our roads in the advent of the unpoliced new dispensation have put insurance companies and the motoring public in a state of worry.
Zimbabwe has become a traffic jungle where motorists now flagrantly flout traffic rules and regulations and insurance companies say they are made to bear the brunt. But the consequent increase in the number of traffic accidents and related loss of lives is a cause of national concern.
The insurance industry is now threatened by the sudden rise in volumes of accident claims most of which they say are caused by flouting of road regulations. Many of the vehicles involved are not registered, licenced or insured. There are also increased hit-and-run incidents involving vehicles without number plates.
Police presence is critical in any societal setting and we urge government to urgently restore the mandate of the police to be out there to enforce law and order before the situation goes out of control.
It is common cause that our police force had reached untenable levels of moral decay, but that should not be an excuse to shut them out completely. It is the duty of the new dispensation to fight this rot and bring back to the people a clean law enforcement unit.
No society can live without the police and it is important that they be brought back as soon as possible so that they can fulfil their national duty.