CHAMBO NGâ€™UNI, Kabwe
IN SERENJE, a guest house is the structure the Zambia Police Service is using as a police station.
The guest house located on Ngâ€™answa road near the district administration centre belongs to the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health.
Initially, police officers were operating at the district administration office, where the Zambia Police Service was given three rooms.
However, because of inadequate office space, the Central Province administration intervened and facilitated the relocation of police operations to the guest house as efforts were being made to build a police station.
A visit to the â€˜police stationâ€™ reveals that the structure is far from meeting minimum standards of what it is called because it was built to be a guest house.
Office space is also not enough considering that the facility also accommodates officers for Chitambo district.
The facility has no police cells; as a result suspects are detained at Serenje State Prison as their cases are being investigated and while awaiting appearance in court.
That is not all. The police do not have transport and houses.
These are among the factors that are negatively affecting the operations of the law enforcement officers in Serenje.
The police officers stationed in this district have been complaining of operating under difficult conditions.
To address the problem, Government has engaged Datong Construction Company to build the first police station in the district at a cost of K33,986,335.
Central Province deputy police commissioner Edwin Bwanga described the project as a millstone because Serenje has been without a police station or police camp.
â€œAt first, our officers were operating at the district administration and currently they are now at a guest house,â€ Mr Bwanga said.
â€œWe thank Government for having started this project, considering that there was no police station in Serenje.â€
The station in the underdeveloped district is under construction in Kafina area opposite Serenje State Prison.
A recent visit at the construction site revealed that Datong Construction Company has made steady progress in the construction of the police station to the delight of the residents.
Construction of 30 low cost houses, 16 medium and six high cost houses is also in progress.
The project started in 2013 and is expected to be completed this year.
Mr Bwanga said because of the nature of the work of the police, officers need to work in an environment designed for their kind of operations.
The new police station, Mr Bwanga said, will motivate police officers and enable them to operate in a better environment.
On accommodation, Mr Bwanga underscored the need for police officers to live in better houses.
Until the construction of the police station and camp is completed, officers will continue renting sub-standard houses in townships.
This, Mr Bwanga said, poses a challenge when it comes to mobilising in an emergency.
â€œThe police camp is good for us. It will help us in organising our officers when they are staying in one place and they will focus on their work,â€ he said.
Mr Bwanga noted that lack of accommodation is among the factors that have damped the morale of the officers.
Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet Peter Kasanda is happy with the manner Datong Construction is undertaking the project.
â€œThe quality is good,â€ Mr Kasanda said when he toured the construction site. â€œThis should be replicated throughout the country.â€
Mr Kasanda said the project is good for Serenje because the district did not have a police station and police camp.
â€œWhen the project is completed operations of the police will improve thereby improving security in the district,â€ said.
District commissioner Kenny Mungwendenge said the construction of the police station and police camp in Serenje is a good development.
â€œAt the moment police are operating under difficult circumstances because of lack of a police station and accommodation,â€ Mr Mungwendenge said.
The lack of a police station and houses for police officers, Mr Mungwendenge said, has negatively affected the maintenance of security in the district.
He also noted that police officers have been experiencing challenges in executing their duties because of lack of a police station.
When a police station is operational, police officers in the region will be expected to enhance their performance.
As essential workers, police officers also need to work in a good environment and have decent accommodation.
â€œA number of houses at the police camp have reached roof level,â€ Mr Mungwendenge said, â€œthis project is good for Serenje.â€
The Ministry of Home Affairs is also undertaking another housing project in the Turn-off area.
This project involves the construction of 148 houses, which will be shared by the Zambia Police Service, Department of Immigration, Drug Enforcement Commission and Zambia Prisons Service.
Mr Mungwendenge also said this project will help in improving Government operations in Serenje.
CHAMBO NGâ€™UNI, Kabwe