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Poor police officers convert horse stables and prisoners’ cells into rooms

Police officers are facing a dire accommodation situation in Zimbabwe with some resorting to converting horse stables and prisoners’ cells into rooms, Parliament has been told.

An inquiry by the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security into the state of service delivery and infrastructure at Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) establishments revealed that officers were gradually losing morale due to poor amenities.

In its report read in Parliament last week, the committee said the officers were living in dilapidated houses which they normally share as three families.

Police officers are facing a dire accommodation situation in Zimbabwe
Police officers are facing a dire accommodation situation in Zimbabwe

The report noted that some have since converted horse stables and prisoners’ cells into rooms.

“The Committee was petrified to note that the Zimbabwe Republic Police had an acute shortage of residential accommodation resulting in almost half of its active human resource residing in rented accommodation.

“The state of affairs was appalling and left officers vulnerable to being compromised by some sections of the society. Current statistics reflected that, out of the human resource strength of 44 687 only 26 398 police officers resided in police camps,” read the report.

“In most cases, a single house was shared by three families resulting in overcrowding. An estimated total of 19 999 police officers resided out of camp which affected the effectiveness and efficiency of police operations.

“The level of dilapidation of the existing residential infrastructure further compounds the dire situation.

“In some serious cases, horse stables and prisoners’ cells have been converted into rooms currently occupied by desperate police officers.”

The committee further established that some members of the police deployed on specific operations used corridors for temporary accommodation while others slept in offices.

“Over and above that, most ablution facilities in the establishments were on the verge of collapse while at some stations they were nonexistent,” the report said.

The committee said it was “sad” to note that basic stationery items such as bond paper, toner, and bench paper, fingerprint ink among others, were not enough to cover all police stations. As a result, some Police members and officers would end up using their personal funds to purchase stationery items.

“In extreme circumstances, the Police would end up using outdated calendars and cardboard boxes as substitutes for paper sheets.” Nehanda Radio

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