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Minister defends spike-throwing cops


HOME Affairs deputy minister Mike Madiro on Wednesday defended the use of metal spikes by traffic police despite reports that they were causing unnecessary accidents and sometimes deaths.


Madiro said spikes thrown at errant drivers were necessary.But MPs said the police must adopt modern technology to resolve traffic offences and stop using spikes and other weapons as they endangered human lives.

Kambuzuma MP Willias Madzimure (MDC Alliance) said: “In the previous republic, a lot of spikes were deployed and this issue was raised in this august House and it was determined that spikes were dangerous as they lead to loss of life. So, my question is, are we back to that previous arrangement?”
In his response, Madiro said spikes were part of modern policing technology.

He blamed motorists for failing to abide by the law, which then compelled the police to use weapons such as spikes and teargas on lawbreakers.

“If it is a policy issue, then our police use what is in line with particular situations that might be happening at a particular time. If there is a particular event, which the MP is referring to, then he should write to the ministry so that we carry out investigations to ascertain how this happened,” Madiro said.

“However, police can deploy means that are necessary and that can augur well with what will be happening at that particular time.”

MDC legislator Spiwe Muchaneta Muchenje then asked Madiro to explain why the law enforcement officers were not using vehicle registration numbers to identify and track offending motorists instead of using spikes.

Norton legislator Temba Mliswa (independent) accused Madiro of trying to evade the questions on the issue when he failed to justify the reasons why the police continued to use spikes.
Soon after the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions by government, there were increased cases of police and commuter omnibuses engaging in high-speed chases, where spikes were used to nab traffic offenders.

This also comes after human rights activists recently approached the High Court challenging the constitutionality of use of spikes by police officers.
However, no ruling has yet been delivered on the matter.

The Human Rights NGO Forum, in its recent weekly report, urged police to adopt the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Co-operation Organisation guidelines to ensure that members do not continue violating human rights.

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