Police ordered to declare assets

Police have moved in to stamp corruption within the force by asking its members to declare their assets, NewsDay can reveal.

Sources within the force said this week that some policemen in the metropolitan province, including the Criminal Investigations Department in some instances, were recently asked to fill in forms giving details of their possessions.

The sources however said the exercise was facing resistance because it appeared to be confined to junior police from the rank of sergeant and below.

Allegations of corruption have been levelled against the police, especially the traffic section, accused of taking bribes at roadblocks, which some people have renamed tollgates.

The official police magazine, Outpost, once carried an article by a senior police officer chiding policemen for taking bribes, especially at roadblocks, and said the reflective jackets usually worn by traffic police had become known as “moneylink cards”.

Members of the force have been arrested and taken to court on corruption charges.

Although NewsDay was given the impression that this was a “routine blanket exercise” set to spread to all police stations in the metropolitan province, police spokesman Senior Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said the exercise was only carried out “during the investigation of corruption”.

“The system has been in our books for a long time where we check on the lifestyles of individual members of the force,” he said.

“It is used when we are suspicious of the lifestyle of particular members of the force, especially how that person may have acquired certain assets.

“This would be in the process of investigating cases of corruption.

I am, however, not aware of specific investigations into the lifestyle of any particular member and it is not done as a blanket thing.”

Some members of the force have been living lavishly, clearly beyond their known incomes and this had raised eyebrows.

Policemen are usually among the first to obtain the latest cellphone models some of which sets are way beyond the policeman’s entire salary.

Others have surprisingly bought cars or commuter buses while “more enterprising” ones, especially those stationed at border posts or, recently, at Chiadzwa diamond fields, have acquired big houses.

The average salary of a policeman is $200 per month.

However, police chiefs have often defended their officers saying, like what happens in any other organisation, the police force had its “bad apples”.

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