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Security companies using toy guns: Police

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BY NIZBERT MOYO

BULAWAYO’s top police officer has accused private security firms of using toy guns to scare away criminals which makes them prone to armed robberies when on cash-in-transit duties.

Officer commanding Bulawayo province Commissioner Patton Mbangwa told journalists that most private security companies were inadequately armed to fight criminals.

Mbangwa said at least 10 security companies in the city had fallen victim to armed robbers in the past few weeks.

“The recent armed robbery case in Parklands at the Choppies shop that ended in the theft of seven trunks of money involving Romicon Security Company left a lot of questions about the seriousness of the security company in preventing robberies.

“Movie-style robberies cannot be allowed to happen. The security company was using an unarmoured car, a kombi, and no single gunshot was fired to disable the robbery,” Mbangwa said.

“Some security guards spend a lot of time sanitising clients at shop entrances and as a result, they neglect their duties and robbers take advantage of the situation. If this continues, investors will shun Bulawayo because of the crime rate,” Mbangwa said.

However, security companies shot back saying they were struggling to obtain firearm certificates, and accused police of taking long to attend crime scenes.

“We are disappointed at police who say they don’t have transport to provide support during an armed robbery, and even if you provide them with transport they take time to respond.

“We also face difficulties in acquiring licences to own guns,” said Safeguard Security representative Greater Sibanda.

Security companies admitted that low remuneration for workers in the industry could also be contributing to an increase in armed robberies.

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