INSPECTOR General of Police Kakoma Kanganja says lack of supervision by officers charged with the supervisory responsibility is the reason some officers are bringing the police service into disrepute.

And Kanganja says police have already set out activities that will ensure non violent and peaceful elections this August.

Speaking on a ZNBC Radio Two radio program, Kanganja said lack of supervision by officers charged with the supervisory responsibility of other police officers had been attributed in bringing the police service into disrepute.

“Generally, we have a friendly relationship with members of the public. Just like any relationships, there are certain situations that arise which end up in bringing about mistrust and conflicts from either party in that relationship. We have had situations where a few of our officers would render a disservice to the public through unethical conduct, complaints against the police in terms of delayed response to scenes of crime, alleged corrupt practices and discreditable conduct. There are also situations where we are unjustly treated by the community that we serve. We have had instances where police infrastructure is maliciously damaged, our officers being assaulted thereby sustaining injuries. Additionally, we do have situations where some members of the public would unfairly judge the police and individual officers based on unsubstantial information on officers, some of whom may not be there to defend themselves,” Kanganja said.

“However, this does not mean that we do not have officers who have professionally misconducted themselves. Some embarrassing videos involving officers have been spotted circulating on social media. These are some of the scenarios that have high potential in bringing the whole institution in disrepute. This misconduct can be attributed to lack of supervision by officers who have been charged with the supervisory responsibility. In the quest to regain confidence and trust, we have strengthened measures in terms of supervisions at level of command by dealing with such elements in the system. In so doing, we will be raising levels of discipline among police officers.”

He said an ad hoc committee had been set up to ensure discipline was upheld in the service.

“We as police, we have put in measures, as you may know, discipline is the cornerstone of every institution and the Zambian Police Service is no exception. As such, our institution constituted an ad hoc committee which has been tasked to put in place measures aimed at raising levels of discipline in the Zambia Police Service. The idea is that officers found wanting should be held accountable for their wrongs. So, I should assure the members of the public that my command will tiressly ensure that levels of discipline in the Zambia police service are raised and erring officers are disciplined accordingly. We have also devised programs aimed at both restrengening and implementing the principles of community policing,” he said.

“I wish to urge members of the public to avoid at all costs labeling and viewing police officers as enemies but as partners in the fight against crime. In this particular situation, they are key partners in ensuring that we deliver a crime free and zero violent election. I implore all peace loving Zambians to continue being law abiding citizens and peaceful and avoid at all costs to be misled by selfish members of the public who do not mean well.”

And Kanganja said police had already set out activities that would ensure non violent and peaceful elections.

“The 2021 [election] is indeed very special. We have already begun preparations on policing of the 2021 elections. Every year, we hold commandants conferences where all commissioners submit their experiences based on previous operations and feed into a national preparation plan. Soon, this year, we will be meeting to review what was submitted and plan ahead. We have commenced in-service training in our three institutions, that is; the Zambia Police Training College at Liyali, Kamfinsa School of Order and Maintenance and also Geoffrey Mukuma Training School popularly known as Sondela. The aim of the in-service training courses is to build capacity in our officers as well as preparing to police effectively during the forthcoming 2021 general elections. The courses are focusing on modern crowd management and riot control techniques,” Kanganja said.

“We also have engagement of political parties and other stakeholders. As we heard towards the 2021 general election, the police will continue engaging leaders of political and other stakeholders so that we identify possible gaps. I can assure the public that we have come up with an holistic security framework which outlines key security requirements associated with policing of the 2021 general elections. The Zambia Police Service has been policing elections since 1968, hence the 2021 general elections is not so unique of course notwithstanding the various dynamics and trends on the political scene that have changed overtime such as political violence and the general conduct of political party cadres. For those cadres that would want to conduct themselves in a manner that breaches the provisions of the law we have no option but to arrest and prosecute them. To you political players and stakeholders in the electoral process, whenever we have divergent views or concerns, we should always take the route of dialogue and consultation.”

Kanganja said police were looking forward to increase the arrest rate this year.

“Of the reported cases in the third quarter of 2020, a total of 7,829 arrests were made representing an arrest rate of 55.45 percent as compared to 6,159 arrests made in 2019 representing 52.21 percent. We recorded an increase in arrest rate in the third quarter of 2020 as compared to the year 2019. On the 2020 crime situation in general we are still compiling the statistics and we are going to avail the statistics as soon as they are ready. In terms of crime statistics and arrest rates we managed to maintain the arrest rates at 0.5 percent rate in the past year 2020 and now our focus for this year 2021 is to improve on the arrest rate by a significant margin,” Kanganja said.

Meanwhile, Kanganja said the PF government had performed better than others with regards to infrastructure development to the police service.

“I wish to thank the government for coming to our aid, they have indeed performed more than any other government before. We have experienced unprecedented infrastructure development, transport and equipment. Government has built us a number of 1,500 housing units out of a total of 2,350 houses for security wings under the Ministry of Home Affairs in the first phase of the housing construction project. This is besides the 270 houses and officer accomadation constructed in the newly created districts across the country,” said Kanganja.