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MINISTER of Home Affairs Davies Mwila when he inspected accommodation for the police at State Lodge police camp in Lusaka. PICTURE: CHANDA MWENYA

Action on police housing spot on

NEWS that police officers will get in excess of 12,000 houses is good for our men and women in uniform. They need accommodation.
President Lungu yesterday officiated at a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of 12,000 housing units which will cost US$320 million for police officers.
The houses will be for both men and women who are employed in the police service.
After a hard day’s work, a police officer, just like any other worker, retires to his or her house for the night’s rest and to get ready for the following day’s tasks.
As committed as one can be, decent accommodation will motivate any police officer to work harder for the nation.
We sympathise with the police officers who come from their less-than-decent housing to attend to national duties and we know how this can be demotivating to them.
With time, the police camps, which were designed to keep police officers in one area, have become full, making police officers integrate in the common residential areas.
In doing this, some of the unruly officers tend to compromise their ethics or are even tempted to engage in unlawful activities that may endanger the lives of those they have to protect.
The lack of housing in our police camps has resulted in some of the policemen and women being housed in unsanitary conditions, like we saw a few years ago at Sikanze police camp.
The stables at the camp were cleared of the horses to pave way for human beings, the police officers and their families to occupy them.
The shortage of accommodation in the police camps has also been exacerbated by the occupation of houses by retired staff who have not yet been paid their dues.
For some who have been able to raise some funds, they find themselves living in undesignated residential areas where they rent houses.
Such arrangements make our police officers, sometimes, respond slowly to duty when they are called upon to do so.
The accommodation of police officers in one large expanse is aimed at quick mobilisation response to emergencies when they arise.
The need to de-integrate police officers from the common residential areas is urgent and we hope the construction of the housing units will help mitigate against their living in undesignated areas.
The annual recruitments of police officers conducted by the command has further enhanced the lack of accommodation and we hope the new housing units will have quarters to cater for single officers.
Their counterparts in the Zambia Army and the Zambia Air Force (ZAF) who once faced a similar challenge have had this shortage considerably overcome with the construction of many houses.
We are confident that the completion of this housing unit for the police officers will enhance their standards of living so that they are motivated to work harder for the country.
Those that will eventually occupy the houses should look after them well. In fact, it would be indiscipline to fail to do so.
While Government is fulfilling its promise to improve accommodation, the onus is on the users to ensure that care and maintenance is personalised.