The Zambia Police says it is receiving less reports related to corruption within the service.

And the Zambia Police Service has said traffic penalties are high and should remain so to deter motorists from misbehaving on the roads.

In an interview, Thursday, Principal Traffic Officer Superintendent Yoram Phiri said there have been “very few reports” of corruption in the recent past as police had been working with other stakeholders to reduce the vice.

“We are working with them to reduce this [corruption] trend. I wouldn’t say we have caught anyone but we still receive reports, so this could be just people talking about the police being corrupt without giving evidence. If you look at the statistics, how many police officers in a year have been arrested for corruption? The figure is very low or even zero. But when people are talked to, they will say the police are corrupt! We need to check if the system is doing fine but so far so good. We believe it is helping us because we are receiving less complaints pertaining to corruption. Wildly, they do speak but on record I think we are seeing a reduction in terms of corruption,” Phiri said.

“I think you have heard of the statistics given by Transparency International Zambia in conjunction with ACC that the police are leading in terms of corruption. To fight that, that’s why the police accepted to have an MoU with Transparency International Zambia. In this MoU, TIZ assisted us in identifying the weaker points, which are a breeding ground for corruption. So among the breeding grounds for corruption is the traffic [section] on traffic penalties. People are saying the [fees] are too high and yes we agree they are too high and they should be too high because these are supposed to work as deterrent measures and not to be affordable for people to pay and start misbehaving on the road. They are supposed to be a deterrent measure.”

He explained that the Zambia Police Service had come up with a service charter in conjunction with TIZ in a bid to fight corruption in the service.

“…we saw that there was a weakness in there [at the traffic section]. If I get your driver’s licence, it means I will get your contact and outside working hours, I will be able to communicate with you and we meet anywhere and money will exchange hands. High command has said no to confiscation of people’s documents, passports, driver’s license, even removal of discs from the windscreen, which is not allowed,” Phiri said.

“The other issue was the handling of cash, so we were advised that we should do away with the handling of hard cash. That’s how the issue of direct bank deposits came in. So this is helping us to fight corruption because our officers are not supposed to handle cash. even members of the public, if they see a police officer receiving money, they will definitely suspect it to be corruption because people are supposed to go and deposit the money in the bank. It’s not just penalties, traffic offences, even services. If you want to do, for example, Interpol, you start with depositing the money in the bank then you come to Interpol with deposit slips then they will give you a receipt and then attend to the service you are asking for.”

He, however, noted that most citizens were not aware of the correct procedure for making deposits and which banks to use.

“Many people have not understood well the procedure of depositing money in the bank and which banks are these. Most of the commercial banks have got that facility but then others have gone further to go and deposit through an agent. So an agent will not produce a bank teller receipt, so that has been a problem. And you find that maybe many people have deposited but they can’t get a receipt from the police to clear their case. So I think the next query by the Auditor General will be that there is more money in the bank but less receipts because many people have not even come back to clear their charges,” said Phiri.