Mass transfers rock police

Paul Nyathi

THE Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has  instituted an aggressive transfer of officers countrywide amid reports that the police top brass is furious about rising indiscipline, incompetence and allegations of corruption, the Zimbabwe Independent reveals.

Harare province on Thursday last week transferred more than 450 police officers with immediate effect with bosses indicating that they expected the officers to report back their new stations on Monday this week.

The transfers are reportedly being implemented across Zimbabwe with members of ranks of the assistant inspector, sergeant-major, sergeant and constable affected.

Transfers for higher-ranked officers are expected soon.

The ZRP, of late, has been battling rising cases of indiscipline among the poorly remunerated officers that have resorted to corruption and other serious criminal activities including armed robberies.

There has also been a major public outcry among Zimbabweans over the conduct of the police, especially those from the traffic section accused of corruption.

Police national spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the transfers.

“That leaked police internal communication was meant for the officer commanding Harare to transfer members within his province according to police regulations.

“So there is nothing sinister or alarming about those transfers because, in terms of the police regulations, officers commanding provinces have the leeway to transfer members within their provinces to address manpower shortages, performance and also the issue of job rotation,” Nyathi said.

“It’s not unique to Harare. These transfers are being effected by officers commanding provinces throughout the country and this also relates to members from the CID.”

Indiscipline, according to sources who engaged the Independent in unsolicited interviews, has become a major concern for ZRP bosses who are trying to tinker with various departments to bring sanity in the force.

“There has been an outcry across the country over the conduct of some police officers with some having been arrested on crime-related offences. The transfers would be implemented across Zimbabwe,” some policemen who requested anonymity told the Independent this week.

Massive transfers will be done at the ZRP Traffic section and the CID’s Commercial Crimes Unit (CCU) in Harare province.

“These are critical departments considering the current state of affairs on Zimbabwe’s roads which need serious policing to control the chaos and the increasing traffic volume, especially in urban areas. There are a number of CCU officers facing corruption allegations with a number of letters having been submitted,” a source said.

The sources further indicated that the culling of members seconded to the CCU who have since been sent back to general policing duties was due to  allegations of indiscipline.

“We cannot ignore the fact that some of the transfers are routine especially when a member moves close to his family or requests a transfer and it is granted. However, units like the CCU are special and one cannot just join and is then relegated to handle ordinary duties like receiving clients at the reception desk.

“That means the member has been removed from where the action is and would have been found unsuitable to handle critical duties including investigations,” the sources added.

Members of the CID are considered to be elite and do not wear police uniforms, hence resorting to normal duties in uniform is considered a demotion.

Meanwhile, according to a memorandum released to all stations in Harare on Thursday last week and seen by the Independent, Officer Commanding Harare province, Commissioner Wonder Tembo announced the transfer of 464 police details from their stations.

He also instructed stations to submit “casualty returns” as soon as the transfers were put into effect while setting a Monday deadline, meaning these were immediate.

Of note have been transfers from the Mbare Traffic Section, Robert Mugabe International Airport and the Harare Central CCU department.

The traffic section at Mbare saw 52 constables, two assistant inspectors, two sergeant-majors and nine sergeants being transferred from the station.

Unconfirmed reports, however, indicated that about three-quarters of the affected details were spared the road since Mbare is a busy policing district.

Another interesting development saw 38 policemen — four assistant inspectors, a sergeant-major, 11 sergeants and 22 constables — being removed from the CCU to start normal policing duties at Harare Central Police Station.

The changes at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International  Airport station saw an assistant inspector, three sergeants and 16 constables being transferred to other stations.

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