Police must press hard on criminals and hooligans who have become law unto themselves and make the streets safe, says Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe.
Police have already stepped up patrols in and around Harare city centre to win back the streets for legitimate business and ordinary pedestrians, but most people, including the responsible minister, would like to see even more action.
Minister Kazembe on Wednesday toured the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Headquarters and Police General Headquarters and after briefings from senior officers told the media that the police were not a brutal force but sometimes hooligans took advantage of that.
“I want us to look at other nations, I will not mention names, at what they do when people behave in the manner that our people sometimes behave. You will realise that Zimbabwe is not anywhere near that.
“What I have realised is that our police respect the people and they are not brutal. What other people do is that they ignore the police when they try to contain the situation.”
Minister Kazembe added, “But If you look elsewhere in the world, whenever people behave in such a manner, the police have techniques they use to try and deal with the situation. But when it comes to our country people are allowed to get away with anything.
‘‘Are you also seeing what people are saying about the police even on social media? Should we also allow that to continue? We don’t want our country to deteriorate to such a situation.”
He said during his tenure in office he would strive to ensure that all challenges being faced by the ZRP are addressed.
Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga said they were facing various challenges such as shortage of office and accommodation, limited budgetary allocations, shortages of stationery and uniforms, shortages of transport and fuel, among others.
He said the ZRP was allocated $2 billion inclusive of employment costs in the recently announced 2020 national budget and this was not enough .
“Regarding the transport situation, the ideal fleet establishment for the organisation is 7 000. Over the years we have had a strength of 1 795 vehicles. I am pleased to note that last year in 2018, we received 99 Toyota Revo pickup trucks and 10 lorries. We allocated all these pick-up trucks to our most remote operational stations.
“This year the Government purchased a total of 164 vehicles. We have since received and distributed 85 of these while the outstanding 79 are on their way. Government is in the process of purchasing an additional 191 vehicles,” he said.
Comm-Gen Matanga said they also require 800 000 litres of diesel per month but only 100 000 litres was being made available while on petrol they were receiving 90 000 litres instead of 500 000 litres.
The meeting was attended by permanent secretary Mr Aaron Nhepera, senior officers and Government officials.