THE Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) says its “foot soldiers” lack proper training making them unable to handle weapons, a situation that has resulted in some of them being disarmed and gunned down by robbers.
REPORT BY EVERSON MUSHAVA CHIEF REPORTER
According to the December 2012 issue of Outpost — an internal police magazine — a recent field evaluation conducted at district and rural police stations in Mashonaland West had exposed glaring training deficits among police officers.
However, Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri has often boasted that he commands the most professional force whose competence has seen it being repeatedly called for peacekeeping missions in Africa and beyond.
Chihuri’s claims were despite criticism by the MDCs that the police force was not professional and executed its duties along political party lines in favour of Zanu PF.
The police evaluation exercise, carried out by the province’s Professional Updating Centre (PUC), was meant to check on whether police officers were able to implement what they were taught during training. Mubayira and Mamina police stations in Mhondoro came under the purview of the evaluation.
Part of the report reads: “Despite most officers having received training in weapon handling and some still new from training, most officers still found it difficult to carry out simple rifle drills like safety precautions on a rifle as well as stripping and assembling. During a visit to Masvingo recently, the Deputy Commissioner-General (administration) Tandabantu (Godwin) Matanga expressed concern over junior police officers who lacked knowledge of their rifles.”
Zimbabwe has recorded a fair number of cases where police officers have been killed by robbers, with the latest recorded on Wednesday when a detective was shot by a car-jacker in Harare. Other cases involved police officers killing civilians due to alleged cases of negligence and inability to handle weapons.
“Besides lack of knowledge in weapon handling and public order, other issues like recording of statements, scene attendance, amongst others were identified,” claimed Outpost.
“Most of the findings though, pointed out to the element of lack of supervision, whereby the sergeants have surrendered the duty of sergeant majors.
“Sergeants are now leaving all the work to sergeant majors when in fact they should work hand in hand. It is surprising that that some of them can no longer give even words of command.
“At this year’s senior officers conference held in Vumba, it was also noted that novices were not being attached to station tutors. They were left groping in the dark with no direction given.”