Blow the whistle on corrupt cops

The Zimbabwe Republic Police has over the years earned itself an unenviable reputation as one of the most corrupt institutions in the region – a very painful reality, considering that the law enforcer is supposed to be society’s watchdog.

Paul Bogaert
Paul Bogaert

Corruption within the law enforcement establishment has manifested itself in numerous forms, among them bribes from criminals and lawyers, docket theft and destruction, undue pressure on suspects and, in some cases, connivance in committing crimes.

Perhaps one of the best known forms it takes is on the roads, where police officers have devised numerous ways of forcing bribes out of public transport operators and motorists.

While the police have sent their own details to arrest offending officers, the scourge is still widespread, and a sustainable strategy must be adopted to curb it. Deployment of undercover anti-graft officers is commendable, but it has its own limitations considering the fact that those sent to guard the guards also have a tendency to dabble in corrupt activities and might be persuaded to protect their colleagues – for a fee of course.

What is needed is a method that ensures that those who watch over the possibility and actuality of corruption cannot be tainted, and what better way than to make use of the public that is always at the receiving end?

We need to set up a system whereby members of the public can blow the whistle – maybe even for a material reward – on instances of corruption.

If the top brass are sincere about fighting corruption, as they have claimed – particularly of late – they it should deliberate on a whistle-blowing mechanism. This should take the form of empowering the public to send information to a particular desk – where it will be promptly actioned.

There must accessible hotlines that whistle-blowers can use to relay information. Teams of officers must be stationed at both the Police General Headquarters and various stations across the country ready to take immediate reaction. Undercover mobile units should be linked to this communication network and should do their rounds especially on the highways.

For this to succeed, ZRP needs to embark on a massive public awareness campaign, educating people on how to relay information.

Post published in: Editor: Wilf Mbanga

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