Editor's Comment

Increasing corruption in police disappointing

THE perception that the police is still the most corrupt is disappointing.
The police, in all fairness, is supposed to be in the forefront of fighting crime, corruption being one of them, but it seems to be to the contrary.
We are not saying that every police officer is corrupt, but the corrupt elements among the good officers are taking away that good name.
According to the 2019 Global Corruption Barometer, (GCB), the police service in Zambia has been ranked the most corrupt institution.
The report says the corruption perception has risen from 51 per cent four years ago to 54 per cent this year, making the police the most corrupt institution.
This means that members of the public now perceive the police to be more corrupt than before.
In fact, the report states that the most corrupt in the police service is the traffic section.
And this is what is coming out in this year’s report as well.
Government has been taking measures to rid the police service of criminal elements because it is concerned about the growing negative perception of the police in the public eye.
Last year, Minister of Home Affairs Stephen Kampyongo directed the police traffic section to reduce on roadblocks on public roads as a way of bringing down corruption among some officers.
He also noted that while police check points and patrols were useful to monitor and bring down crime on public roads, some police officers were abusing them.
It was also suggested that the traffic police officers be rotated to reduce corruption
The high level of corruption is also one of the reasons that led to the placing of speed cameras on some public roads as well as the implementation of the system where offenders make payments directly into a bank account.
There are also integrity committees in the police service, through which it was hoped corruption could be fought.
Traffic police officers, as Government workers, are not the only ones who earn lower salaries as teachers, nurses and other such staff who fall in the same category of low salaries and cannot stand as an excuse to engage in corruption.
It is sad that despite putting such measures in place, the perception of corruption among the police has now risen to 54 per cent, meaning that about half of Zambians perceive our policemen to be corrupt.
The rise in the figure also means that more needs to be done to abate the rising perception so that we have a police service with a good name and an institution that exudes a positive image to members of the public.
In a period of about three years, between January 2015 and August 2018, the courts prosecuted 39 police officers.
This is a significant figure, especially that corruption among the police should not be heard of.
It is noted that corruption takes place between two people, meaning there is another person on the opposite side of the police to complete the corruption circle.
Members of the public should take measures to avoid being part of this vice by ensuring they give the police no opportunity for corruption and somehow help them.
Motorists, in particular, should take all precautions when they are on public roads to behave like good citizens who abhor crime in all its forms.

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