The Human Rights Commission (HRC) has called on government to procure bullet proof jackets for law enforcement officers, particularly those working in sensitive operations like the anti-robbery squad.
Commenting on the Ndola incident where two police officers from the flying squad were killed by criminals in an exchange of fire yesterday, Commission Spokesperson Mweelwa Muleya said it was a grave violation of human rights of the deceased officers.
“The Human Rights Commission (HRC) strongly condemns the killing of two police officers and the wounding of a civilian by suspected criminals yesterday in Ndola on the Copperbelt as the act is criminal and a grave violation of the right to life of the deceased officers. The Commission calls upon members of the public to help the Zambia Police Sevice in tracking down the suspected criminals who are still on the run so that they are brought to book in accordance with the law,” Mweelwa said.
“The Commission also wishes to appeal to the Government to consider prioritizing the procurement of adequate bullet proof jackets or any form of such protective device for law enforcement officers, particularly those working in sensitive operations such as the anti-robbery squad in order to protect them from criminals.”
Mweelwa said it was regrettable for officers to lose their lives whilst trying to secure the lives of others.
“Police Officers are law enforcement officers who tirelessly work to protect property and life of others on a daily basis under difficult and risky situations and must therefore be protected from any form of interference or harm during the course of their duty,” he said.
“Police Officers are primary human rights defenders in line with their constitutional mandate and it is deeply regrettable that they have to pay with their own lives in the course of securing the rights of others. The Commission deeply commiserates with the Zambia Police Service and the families of the deceased officers. The deprivation of the right to life constitutes terminal violation of human rights and must at all cost be prevented as life lost cannot be restored.”
He also appealed to law enforcers to enhance community service policing and work towards identifying individuals in possession of military weapons.
“The Commission calls on everyone to collaborate with law enforcement officers in maintaining public security, law and order in order to promote a conducive environment for enjoyment of human rights such as conducting business without fear of being robbed,” said Mweelwa.
“It is also important for law enforcement officers to enhance community service policing and work towards identifying individuals in possession of, and abusing, military weapons such as an AK47 assault rifle.”