BY XOLISANI NCUBE
Police have started re-training junior officers to equip them with the latest policing trends after being exposed by the recent anti-government protests that rocked the country where their crowd control skills were questioned.
Officially opening the re-training programme in Harare yesterday, Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga said the initiative was part of recommendations made by the Kgalema Motlanthe commission of inquiry into the August 2018 post-election violence which saw six people shot dead by security agents.
“Some operational shortcomings have been laid bare by the recent events, especially the violent incidents that engulfed the nation in August 2018 and January 2019, respectively. It is in this regard that government has seen it prudent that the Zimbabwe Republic Police begins in earnest to implement recommendations of the commission of inquiry into the post-election violence, which was chaired by former South African President, His Excellency, Kgalema Motlanthe,” Matanga said.
At least 62 junior officers have been selected for the pilot project aimed at dealing with new crime trends and public order management systems.
Matanga said key among the recommendations was equipping police with necessary skills.
“Key among these was the need for equipping the police with the skills and capacity for dealing with rioters. The police would be further trained in order to be professional and non-partisan in the interest of national cohesion and the protection of all citizens. Corporate failings to be prevented,” he said.
“Towards that end, training and supervision of police officers shall be on-going in order to ensure that all strategies to rebrand and transform the organisation dovetail with government’s trajectory.
“A total of 62 officers have been chosen as a pioneer group to undergo this course which shall cover duties and responsibilities of an officer-in-charge, resource management, management of discipline, corruption, customer care, briefing and debriefing, among others.”
In the past, the police have been accused of being corrupt, partisan in discharging their duties as well as ill-equipped to tackle riots.
Due to the state of the economy and high unemployment rates in the country, worsened by non-delivery of social services by government or its agencies, riots are bound to occur as citizens push for better services.