EDITORIAL COMMENT: Police must act professionally

Source: EDITORIAL COMMENT: Police must act professionally | The Financial Gazette August 18, 2016

WHEN police brutality targets members of the Fourth Estate, it becomes very difficult even for the most proficient public relations practitioner to put a spin to it.
No doubt, the police play an indispensable part in society. Without them, crime, violence and other vices would spiral out of control; creating something akin to a jungle where only one rule applies — survival of the fittest.
In as much as society needs police, the reverse is equally true. For both to benefit from each other, they have to be mutual respect. In Zimbabwe’s case, the police doesn’t appear to be doing much to earn that respect, if events of the past week are anything to go by.
Seven journalists were severely assaulted while covering a protest march over bond notes last week, among them Idah Mhetu, of the Financial Gazette. The vicious and unprovoked attack on protesters, including journalists, is not just doing the police a huge disservice, but the country as a whole.
Zimbabwe is desperate for foreign capital and aid to enable its economy to turn around the corner. In order to attract capital, respect for rule of law is vital. It therefore becomes an exercise in futility to attempt to lure investors when those whose duty is to enforce the law trample on the very same statutes they are supposed to be upholding.
In terms of the Constitution, it is within citizens’ rights to protest. The same charter also provides safeguards for rights of freedom of expression, association and assembly.
By breaking up a peaceful protest, the law enforcement agents violated the supreme law of the land; and journalists were not spared. It was really uncalled for.
Unfortunately, such cases of police brutality are on the increase.
That officers brazenly wielded their batons on journalists in the full glare of onlookers goes to show that there is no longer shame and self-respect amongst them.
Where officers have the audacity to attack journalists, seize their tools of trade or force them to delete their material from their cameras in smart phones, one begins to wonder if these are properly trained officers or the nation has allowed rogues to infiltrate the force. More so when police have no qualms authorising ZANU-PF demonstrations and monitoring these from a distance, without inciting violence like they did last week.
One can therefore be forgiven for concluding that ours is a partisan force because the same police apply different rules to different people. Does it mean that we now have in our midst “animals” that are more equal than others?
Zimbabweans deserve a disciplined and professional police.
Violence by whosoever, and for whatever reason, should not have a place in Zimbabwe.
We are all looking forward to the day when our police begin to focus more on interaction over reaction; de-escalating over brute force and taking their place in communities they serve as stakeholders as opposed to stirring up antagonism.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 2
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    Mukanya 6 years ago

    Thugs,hooligans&etc are no professionals,hence professionalism is a foreign anathema to ZRP!!

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    The police are the criminals in this country! They are basically the Zpf mafia robbing the public at every opportunity. See how many have abundant transport to set up road blocks, then try calling them out if you have an intruder in your house or have been burgled. You’ll see how professional they are!