Police Commissioner for the North, Demster Chigwenembe, has singled out police’s failure to respond to emergencies and give feedback on progress of reported cases as some of the elements that have triggered hostilities between police and the general public.
He was speaking on Tuesday when he officially opened the Regional Executive Community Policing meeting held at the regional police headquarters in Mzuzu.
The police commissioner’s statement followed that of Magistrate Sophie Chimaliro who, without mincing words, had asked the police to ‘open up’ if they are to effectively combat crime through community policing.
Commissioner Chigwenembe, who is less than a month old as Northern Region Commissioner of Police, conceded that police have at times failed to meet people’s expectations and aspirations by failing to respond to emergencies and reporting progress on reported cases.
He said the situation has attracted hostility from the general public.
“These are some of the key triggers of public hostility against the police. In this regard, my office is ready to receive any grievances and act accordingly,” said Commissioner Chigwenembe.
A few weeks ago, some members of the general public set on fire Area 23 Police Unit in Lilongwe. Commissioner Chigwenembe felt that was probably an expression of anger with the police by members of the general public.
He then asked all station commanders, community policing coordinators and station executive committee members in the region, to ensure that they conduct community policing sensitization meetings regularly in their policing areas.
As earlier appealed by Magistrate Sophie Chimaliro, Commissioner Chigwenembe assured the meeting that his office was open, saying that was the only key to effective interaction between the police and the open world.
The regional executive committee meeting was convened to elect new office bearers. The ones whose tenure had expired were elected on 30th April, 2012 and their tenure officially expired in April 2014.
According to Magistrate Sophie Chimaliro who was the committee’s Vice Chairperson but represented the chairperson Senior Chief Kalonga in the meeting, said since the committee was elected in 2012, hardly any meetings were conducted.
Without mincing words, she described the expired community policing regional executive committee in which she was vice chairperson as ‘dead’.
“It has been a dead committee, I do not want to be part of such a committee,” she said, hoping the new committee (which was about to be elected) would be vibrant.
She then asked the police to open up to enhance interaction with the general public if they are to effectively stump out crime, including corruption which she said was rampant even among the police officers.
“We would like you to be a police commissioner of the people, not of the office. …we do not want you to be a feared police commissioner, but a respected police commissioner of police in Northern Region,” she advised.
Sentiments from other members also indicated that since April 2012, the committee hardly did anything, hence had no strategy or plan of action on how to fight crime in the region.
This time, it remains to be seen how proactive the new committee would be in strategising on how to effectively root out crime in Northern Region.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :