By Veronica Gwaze
The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) arrested more than 105 bogus police officers in the first eight months of 2020 for terrorising unsuspecting members of the public around the country.
In the same period last year, the ZRP arrested 130 impersonators of police officers, which led to an intensification of the fight against such crime.
The fraudsters committed various offences in the name of the uniformed forces with some of them wearing police regalia before going around suburbs in vehicles without number plates extorting and robbing people of their valuables.
In some instances, the bogus officers would man fake roadblocks where they would shake down motorists.
Of the more than 105 cases, 101 arrests have been effected with some of the culprits serving jail terms.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said that the police force was worried by the trend.
“It is a worrying trend when people go on to commit such crimes because being in possession of a police uniform when you are not a member of the ZRP is an offence,” he said.
“These crimes are being committed nationwide. We are on high alert and ready to interrogate any suspicious ‘officers’ and deal with the culprits.”
While most of the culprits are believed to be getting old uniforms from deserters or stealing from serving officers, some bonafide law enforcement agents are reportedly loaning their uniforms to the culprits, who in turn pay a token.
According to Section 179 of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act, Chapter 9:23, impersonating a police officer, peace officer or public official is a jailable offence.
Asst Comm Nyathi urged members of the public to co-operate with local police stations and assist in identifying the culprits as they are usually known members of the community.
When confronted by police, members of the community should ask officers to identify themselves by producing police identity cards where necessary and should request to proceed to the nearest police station if there is a need, Asst Comm Nyathi said. Sunday Mail