End of road for corrupt traffic cops

Police investigators have been deployed countrywide to arrest corrupt officers, with some posing as ordinary commuters to monitor roadblocks. Officers who use excessive force such as unnecessarily detaining motorists on roadsides for long periods could also be apprehended and charged with criminal abuse of office.

The operation is part of a broad framework formulated by the ZRP to create a corruption-free force with worldclass policing standards.

The ZRP Internal Investigations Department is leading the charge, and has been holding regular briefings with Commissioner-General Dr Augustine Chihuri who has previously spoken strongly against corruption.

Although The Sunday Mail could not establish how many culprits had been netted to date, it is understood some officers have been disciplined for violating a prohibition against parking personal vehicles near roadblocks.

It is believed rogue officers at roadblocks usually hide corruption proceeds in their cars.

In an interview with this paper last Thursday, Police national spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said: “We have developed a new customer care curriculum partly as a response to the complaints we receive everyday over the problems members of the public encounter when dealing with some of our officers on the roads.

“As I speak, we are training our officers on modern customer care methods, especially how to handle motorists at roadblocks. When we developed this curriculum, we had gone around the country sourcing views from the motoring public.

“We were told of incidents where motorists were mistreated by officers, with some saying they were forced to park on the side of the road before being ignored for very long periods. We are now arresting those culprits and charging them with malperfomance, use of excessive power and criminal abuse of office, in some cases.”

Snr Asst Comm Charamba
Snr Asst Comm Charamba

Snr Asst Comm Charamba said all senior officers had been directed to deal with corruption whenever it crops up in their departments, and failure to act would attract punitive action.

She said investigators would continue to conduct regular roadblock checks and pursue leads provided by the public.

“We now have a system where all complaints against police are filed in my office and I refer them to the Internal Investigations Department. And when the investigations are done, they can either recommend that the officer be arrested and charged or go for retraining.

“That department’s role is to investigate and redress all complaints against police. We have police who also operate undercover from different departments who conduct spot-checks at roadblocks; this is being done to ascertain whether police officers are engaging in corruption or whether they are performing their duties properly.”

She went on, “All police commanders have been ordered to clamp down on corruption within their ranks … We have arrested some officers who were hiding their vehicles at police stations or close to where they were manning roadblocks after setting up surveillance teams.

“What we need is information from members of the public whenever they identify any anomalies, and such information is always acted upon. There is no way police will sit on such information – an officer who fails to act will be arrested regardless of rank.

“People have the right, whenever they feel they have been wronged by a police officer, to call on this Harare telephone number 703631 or go to the nearest police station to report. They can also visit our revamped website which has contact details of all the senior officers.”

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