British High Commissioner to Malawi Michael Nevin says Malawi Police Service (MPS) needs professional conduct in dealing with challenging public order situations ahead of the May 20 Tripartite Elections this year.
Nevin was speaking in Zomba on Monday during the launch of the training of 20 tactical police commanders in public order policing which was held at Police College Officers’ Mess.
The training is being done with support from the Democratic Governance Programme (GDP) with European Development Fund.
He said the police service needs to be responsive in handling public order events using justified means or reasonable force.
“There has to be new ways of doing things in such a way that you need to reflect and learn from the past experience in challenging public order events. This is so because you will be dealing with the incident as it occurs by following proper guidelines in public order management,” said the British High Commissioner.
He cited challenging past events by the police service such as the 20th of July 2011 demonstrations where a number of people lost their lives and also the recent violence at a football match in Balaka where a Mighty Wanderers FC fan died.
“Using force has to be the last resort but most importantly engage in talks with those leading the demonstrations. It is actually public 90 percent negotiations or communication with those who you are engaging with,” Nevin added.
In her remarks, police Deputy Inspector General Chrissy Ngauma expressed gratitude to the British Government saying the training will sharpen decision-making capabilities of the police officers when faced with challenging situations in the country.
Said Ngauma: “We need to create and enhance a different mechanism that has a new approach in dealing with public order events so as to correct the battered image of Malawi Police Service when such situations arise in communities.”