ANALYSIS: KAKOMA KANGANJA
MY command’s strategic plan for this year is to improve ourselves in many aspects, more especially in the areas of administrative and operational efficiency in line with our 2019/2021 strategic plan.
In our endeavour to achieve administrative efficiency, we have started working on the implementation of the human resource management reforms in consultation with the police service commission and other stakeholders.
In terms of operational efficiency, we shall continue to build capacity of our operatives involved in the day-to-day policing activities through training and exposure to modern methods of policing.
Furthermore, we shall endeavour to review our crime prevention and detection approaches in order to come up with a responsive community policing model.
Let me appreciate Government for the efforts and achievements scored in 2019 aimed at transforming and modernising the police amidst many other competing needs.
We are very thankful to Government for the unmatched investments made in the history of the Zambia Police Service. These include, among others, the purchase of vehicles, assorted equipment and uniforms for officers in the police.
This has, undoubtedly, motivated officers to improve their operational efficiency in the quest to achieve our core mandate of maintaining law and order.
We are overwhelmed with joy for the massive state-of-the-art police infrastructure projects Government has continued to deliver countrywide to the police.
My administration has witnessed unprecedented levels of commitment in this area. Examples include the provincial administration block, which was commissioned in Muchinga Province in August last year and the 26 district police stations supported with 10 housing units each in the newly created districts.
Out of the 1,500 houses allotted to the police under phase one, a total of 890 houses have so far been completed and handed over to police officers in various parts of the country, while the remainder, 610 housing units, are nearing completion.
This is not a mean achievement because they have not only eased the mobilisation of officers during times of emergency, but it has also resulted in huge savings by Government as the accommodated officers will no longer be paid housing allowances.
In response to the directive to continue working towards gender mainstreaming, we have begun working towards achieving equal participation of both male and female officers at all levels so as to enhance capacity building and attain equity and equality within the police.
We are more than determined to recruit more female officers than the male folk so that we work towards reducing the gender parity.
For instance, in the last recruitment, 37 percent of the graduates were female.
In response to defence and security wings complementing Government’s efforts towards contributing to the food security of the country through agriculture, the police farms unit is also involved in mixed farming activities, which include crop production, horticulture and livestock rearing.
We have 200 hectares of land at Shimabala, Kafue, 250 hectares at Solwezi farm and 64 hectares at Buchetekelo farm in Lusaka West.
Through a grant of US$1.7 million from the World Bank that we received in 2015, under the irrigation development support project, we managed to acquire two 250 hectares centre pivots for Shimabala farm, and four hectares drip irrigation for Buchetekelo farm in Lusaka West.
Because of this development, we are now able to produce crops throughout the year, which has enabled us to increase annual crop production from 45 percent to 85 percent.
Further, we have acquired 250 hectares of land in Nkeyema district, Western Province, where we intend to undertake various farming activities so that we maximise production and contribute positively towards the food security in our country.
We have made great strides in setting up this air transport wing. So far, we have recruited four pilots and six maintenance engineers.
We are working in close collaboration with other stakeholders, which include the Civil Aviation Authority, the Zambia Air Services Training Institute and the Zambia Air Force.
Once completed, the air wing will immensely contribute to enhancing the operational efficiency and proficiency by responding quickly to distress calls, more especially in areas that are difficult to reach or access.
We also wish to pay gratitude to Government for its initiative of setting up a safe city project.
This initiative is timely because it will greatly help us to curb crime as we will be able to monitor hotspot crime-prone areas in real and good time.
So we are anxiously waiting for the quick completion and actualisation of this ambitious project.
We are grateful to Government for granting us authority to establish a formed police unit (FPU).
Once established, the FPU will enable us to effectively provide security support during peacekeeping missions and other areas where need arises.
Detection and prevention of crime continues to be our core mandate as police and we are more than determined to ensure that we maintain law and order and we are committed to do just that.
I wish to report that last year, there was a slight increase in crime in selected parts of the country.
You may wish to know that from the first to the third quarter of 2019, 41,129 criminal cases were recorded across the country compared to the 40,616 cases recorded in 2018 over the same period. This entails an increase of crime by 513 cases, which translate into 1.2 percent increase.
This is attributed to a wave of political violence which we experienced during last year’s by-elections, abuse of social media, escalating cybercrime and fraud, influx of foreigners, coupled with the ever-increasing population, amongst other factors.
As a measure to mitigate this scourge, we managed to secure 19,990 arrests in the year under review, representing 48.6 percent of reported cases in comparison to 19,562 arrests made under the same period in the year 2018, which represented 48.16 percent. This translates into an increase in the number of arrests by 0.44 percent.
Other strategies included identifying crime-prone areas and intensifying both motorised and foot patrols.
This year, we are going to step up crime intelligence gathering in order to effectively detect and prevent crime.
We will also continue sensitising members of the public through the community services department and public relations unit on the need to work with the police in eradicating crime through our police/community policing concept.
These are amongst many other strategies we are going to employ so as control and reduce crime.
The author is Inspector-General of Police.