POLICE EXTORTION IN ZIMBABWE
Bribery, corruption, extortion and other influences to obtain favorable conditions, patronage, policing, decisions and judgements among many other ills are a human trait today and practiced in every country around the world even in the hallowed precincts of reputed institutions which are numerous to write about here.
In this context the extortion rings run within the Zimbabwe Republic Police wouldn’t be surprising but the ills befitting this organization that just sprung out of the hated anti-apartheid revolution and baptized with fire in 1980 is today unprecedented.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) the successor to the British South Africa Police (BSAP) was christened on the wrong foot with a novice in the enforcement of law and order being propelled to the important and sensitive post of the Commissioner General who was just but a lowly police constable joining the now defunct BSAP in 1960.
He had to serve his political masters who placed him at the helm and what followed was a lesson in disaster which would go down in the annals of Zimbabwe police history as the bone of contention that had more or less brought the country to be called a “failed pariah state” in the modern world.
Various reports and surveys conducted within the Zimbabwe Republic Police, discreetly of course, does not bode well for the well being of the organization.
The most blatant reason is the general working conditions of the rank and file who are poorly paid, forced into unhealthy living conditions, the absence of regular and targeted training, and the lack of modern resources to carry out their tasks which in itself are monumental due to the high rise in crime.
Hence bribery and extortion is a part and parcel of their daily chores without which the police personnel would not be able to meet ends when they go home to their loved ones.
Police extortion is so obviously prevalent that the senior officers who are also “on the take” turning a blind eye or also having their “palms oiled” by those who want umpteen favors to go about their lawless and nefarious activities.
Once in a way some low constable or a senior high ranking officer are taken in for extortion and charged but a closer analysis of the incident would have politically motivated undertones to it.
Extortion and bribery mostly go undetected due to the lack of modern technology in place in important areas where the opportunities for such activities are rampant.
Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) is missed badly in these sensitive areas and the “powers that be” do not want to install them due to reasons that are blatantly very clear.
The top is corrupt hence going behind small mice could “upset the apple cart” hence the hesitancy to enforce and prosecute those below in rank, as they would surely “spill the beans”.
A concerted effort would need to be initiated if extortion is to be eradicated from the Zimbabwe Republic Police but who would “bell the cat” is another matter.