Editor's Comment

Death of police officer unfortunate

THE shooting and subsequent death of Lennox Kapila Junior, a police officer, by a colleague is not only a heinous act, but also a source of grave concern when committed by someone whose duty is to protect life.
Edwin Kabasiya, a constable, heartlessly shot Mr Kapila Jr after an argument.
By their nature, police are entrusted with the noble responsibility of protecting both life and property.
That is why the State spends millions of Kwacha training the men and women in uniform at the country’s three police academies – Kamfinsa in Kitwe, Lilayi and Sondela in Lusaka.
Training is designed to drill the men and women to be able to perform responsibilities required of them with impeccable sobriety.
The over six months training they undergo is transformational – to separate them from the rest of civilians they will be interacting with when they pass out.
The training centres on character formation so that when they are ushered back into society, they stand out.
Before being trained, Police command conducts a rigorous selection process which is ordinarily expected to be competitive.
This, we believe, is done by conducting psychometric tests to eliminate potential psychopaths.
From the outset, the recruitment process should provide avenues for strict scrutiny. It is our belief that there is no digression from this all the time.
This is so because the police profession is very delicate. These men and women in uniform operate with firearms within their proximity all the time.
This entails that they ought to be mentally, physically and psychologically stable even under the bitterest provocation imaginable.
It has become a source of worry nowadays because youths join the police service as a last resort; just to get formal employment without the actual desire to serve as such.
Today, people join police because their attempt at other jobs deemed lucrative have failed. Some, it would seem by their behaviour, are not meant for this noble profession. They are inherently criminal-minded.
This is a very sad development.
Police officers are guardians of law and order and it should never happen that a police officer should kill his own with a firearm.
This matter must be thoroughly investigated so that the exact circumstances regarding the death of the police officer could be established.
Why should a fellow police officer kill his colleague in uniform or indeed anyone else? This represents a total disregard of order and breakdown of discipline in the Zambia Police Service if left unchecked. There is need to stiffen the criteria of recruitment selection instead of every Jim and Jack, it would seem.
The bad eggs should be weeded out at inception. The standards of training must certainly be raised to one full year or even more.
The Zambia Police Service command should also be inviting instructors from those countries to learn lessons from other countries’ police training programmes.
Besides, there must be measures to control access to firearms, coupled with strict periodical psychological assessment of officers expected to draw and bear arms.
The sad incident in Munali is a classic case of an officer not suited to be carrying a firearm being permitted to do so; it is a tragedy that reflects very badly on police.

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