Slashing police funding wrong

HARARE - It is sad that government is quietly slashing a key piece of police funding despite promising there would be no cuts in the police budget at all.

New figures tabled in Parliament yesterday confirm the extent of the cuts, forcing police bosses to scrounge for cash from other lines of revenue such as roadblocks.

Government must start wholeheartedly funding policing to transform the service for the better.

To keep balances in the black, police commissioners have no choice but to find an extra means to raise cash, and this can only be through mounting nauseating and ubiquitous roadblocks.

Central government must protect spending on the police to stop hassles on the roads, from roadblocks to spikes.

At a time crime is rising, the country is reeling from the biggest police cuts. Overall government spending has remained stagnant in cash terms, at $4 billion, but the police budget is going down.

We agree, there is a funding crisis and every department will need to make savings year-on-year by putting an end to wasteful and inefficient spending, but slashing police spending is not the way to go and is becoming an added hassle to motorists.

Reports tabled in Parliament yesterday that Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has failed to pay more than 500 graduates since June last year are disconcerting.

The police need cutting-edge approaches to reduce crime; they need money for their digital projects that will help promote diversity in policing.

We totally agree that the Forensic Science Laboratory — which is housed in the CID headquarters — needs to be fully equipped with modest technical equipment and chemicals, all of which are very expensive.

Zimbabwe’s police crime laboratory must be a modern forensic sciences facility that provides services such as DNA analysis, fingerprint identification, chemical analysis of various types of evidence, and many more.

This is also important to clear the backlog of such cases like murder and rape lodged with the ZRP and the courts of law.

The capitalisation of the Forensic Science Laboratory cannot be overemphasised since it helps to bring tangible evidence in cases which require forensic science investigations.

Out of a bid of $3,2 million needed to cover initial capital equipment, Treasury allocated a measly $400 000, which we agree is grossly inadequate. The costs of outsourcing services for DNA tests cannot be reduced given this funding shortfall.

Police need to create a joint forensics and biometrics programme — this national piece of work will reduce the time taken to provide DNA results to forces for investigations.


Comments (1)

It is very interesting to note that in Zimbabwe the government can draw a budget using cash in flows from the road blocks the ZRP mounts in the country 10 provinces everyday. This is grosly unfair to the ordinary motorist who is subjected to a minimum fine of Usd 20 on the daily Road blocks. Offences range from failure to display third number plate to brake or stop lights not showing. The most easy catch for the police is worn out tyres especially on passenger services vehicles. They do not measure the thread depths, they simply use their eyes and imagination. The same ZRP can be bribed with as little as USD 5. I suggest that before any funding is allocated to the police the current rot must be eradicated. This must start with a mindful peaceful resignation from the man at the helm of the police. This man has also shown his allegiance to the ruling ZANU-PF. So whatever good work the police might doing elsewhere it's not seen in good light because the Commissioner of the police has turned himself into an activist for the ruling party in order for him to keep his job. I have travelled many countries and I have not seen a single country which puts ROAD BLOCKS as a number one priority in combating crime. Yes the ZRP needs funding BUT not with the current crop of leadership. TO SAVE THE ZIMBABWE REPUBLIC POLICE IN A FUTURE ZIMBABWE CHIHURI MUST GO!

Maxmus Savanhu - 6 February 2017

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