THE ZAMBIA Police Service has warned that those without masks will be fined K750 or be arrested and taken court.

And Police Spokesperson Esther Mwaata Katongo says if they run out of space, some offenders will be detained at Edwin Imboela stadium.

Speaking during a special interview on Radio Phoenix, Katongo said police would find a way to deal with the offenders.

“We will find a way of dealing with them, all that we want is to decongest. Those who don’t pay, because initially when you are found without a mask, you are supposed to be charged K750, that is under the general term. So if you don’t have a mask and you are picked up by police, you will be made to pay the K750 fine and if you say you want to go to court, it’s either we detain you, if you have got sureties you go on police bond,” Katongo said.

“But in instances where we feel that you can’t be traced, we will not be giving police bond. But for those others like for Lusaka, those others who will opt to go to court or who will fail to pay a fine, we will have a meeting with the Lusaka City Council authorities so that a fast track court can be dealing with such people so that we decongest our facilities or we don’t allow congestion in our detention facilities. Moreover, we have got grounds, we have got Imboela Stadium, we will pack them in the Imboela stadium if we don’t have where to take them.”

Katongo said there were a number of offences which those not adhering to COVID-19 regulations could be charged with.

“Any other province, there are so many ways of dealing with such because you can even be charged under the penal code where you get conduct likely to cause the breach of peace. So in instances where we see that we are overwhelmed with the numbers of people, we charge them with conduct likely to cause the breach of peace and there is a fine to be paid in that regard, we are going to find a way as police to deal with such. We wouldn’t want to start talking about the challenges that we may face because we don’t want to talk about the challenges, just know that we are going to enforce the law,” Katongo noted.

Katongo, however, said police would engage people before arrest to make sure that they were masked up.

“We will give them chance, we will talk to them first to mask up, obviously there are always strategies, once we give people, even you the media, you’ve got a role to inform the people and tell them to say that now they are arresting. So like in the initial stages when they heard that police were enforcing the regulations, we saw a lot of people in masks. So it’s not difficult even now people can still get back to putting on masks. So we will give them information first of all then if they don’t want to follow that, we will pick them and the moment they hear that we have picked two, three, four people for it wearing masks, a lot of them will now see to say that it is serious that the officers are now arresting,” said Katongo.