Freeman Razemba Crime Reporter
Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga on Wednesday said it was disturbing to note that officers deployed on patrols and traffic operations were not performing their duties to expectations.
He said most of them were always seen attending to their mobile phones and leaning on pillars.
Comm-Gen Matanga said a few weeks ago he launched the Patrol Unit and the rationale behind this was to increase police visibility and to decongest Harare.
The police chief said this while addressing police officers in the city after visiting Harare Central Police Station yesterday.
“What is disturbing is the fact that the much sought visibility, in my view, has remained a pie in the sky and one is left to wonder for how long shall this be? If by chance you happen to see details on patrol, you are certain to notice one or two things.
“It is either they will be leaning against buildings or pillars too engrossed in attending to their mobile phones oblivious of what is happening around them in line with their duty, or if they are walking, you can tell from their body language that they are more like people taking a stroll as opposed to personnel deployed purposely to prevent and detect crime,” said Comm-Gen Matanga.
He said also spoke on roadblocks.
“To call some of the set-ups roadblocks, is actually to overly dignify it. I therefore call upon all commanders to ensure that members are properly and sufficiently briefed prior to deployment and thereafter effectively supervised.
“Roadblocks should be properly manned and members deployed should be animated and show confidence in what they would be doing.
“The practice of constricting the way by shutting one lane and then direct at motorists to simply pass without stopping and attending to them is improper,” he said.
Added Comm-Gen Matanga: “Oftentimes you see police officers causing unnecessary traffic bottlenecks by attending to a motorist right in the lane instead of a search bay that allows others to pass. Such a scenario apparently irks motorists and acts in cross purposes with our organisational vision.”
The police chief challenged commanders to ensure that officers deployed for patrols and traffic enforcement were properly and sufficiently briefed and effectively supervised.
Comm-Gen Matanga said the ongoing restructuring of the police force will see some posts abolished if deemed redundant.
Comm-Gen Matanga said in November last year, President Mnangagwa stressed the need for all police officers to adopt a new work ethic.
“This new work ethic entails that every police officer must put the welfare of the citizens first before own comfort and advance the interest of the nation first before personal considerations.
“We therefore ought to deliver quality service that is characterised by visible and responsive policing predicated on a high level of professionalism, dedication, teamwork, unity of purpose and loyalty to both the organisation and the country. Strong supervisory mechanisms must therefore be devised at all tiers of the police hierarchy to enhance our operational and administrative efficacy,” he said.
“As I have previously stated on various police platforms, my enduring desire is to see most of the personnel being devoted to operational duties.
“This operational trajectory requires additional staff for deployment by operational stations hence the on-going restructuring exercise.
“This inevitable process will ultimately result in the abolishment of certain posts and the thinning of some sections identified to be redundant or performing duplicate roles,” said Comm-Gen Matanga.
The meeting was attended by Deputy Commissioners-General Innocent Matibiri, Levie Sibanda and Josephine Shambare, the officer commanding Harare Province Senior Assistant Commissioner Elias Mvere and senior police officers from Harare and the Police General Headquarters.