HARARE – Police have warned that fake roadblocks were being mounted by expelled cops to extort money from motorists.
“We are fully aware of the machinations of some unscrupulous elements who have formed a fifth column that masquerades as police, conducting illegal roadblocks, using spikes and collecting money for themselves,” police spokesperson senior assistant commissioner Charity Charamba told a news conference yesterday.
Police are asking people to be extra cautious when they see “something on the road”.
The fake police officers have effectively formed a parallel service, Charamba said, adding they would soon catch up with the rogue elements.
Three men have been already nabbed and were in custody, assisting the police with investigations.
She urged the public to demand identification cards from officers manning roadblocks.
“Of late, we are noticing a disturbing phenomenon where some individuals or groups of people have gone on overdrive trying to paint gloomy pictures about the Zimbabwe Republic Police.
“They are employing numerous strategies . . . in a bid to discredit the police service, tarnish our image and foment hatred.”
Charamba suggested that there was a powerful hand behind the actions of the bogus police officers.
“Very soon, we will be able to establish whose agenda they are driving and in particular the brains behind their illicit operations,” Charamba said.
She further appealed to the public to report any suspicious individuals or people masquerading as police.
“Our telephone hotline numbers are 04 748836 or 777651 or any nearest police station.”
She acknowledged that nabbing the clique will not be easy as the criminal world had become “exceedingly complex” but was confident that with the “employment of diverse proactive measures of crime prevention” they would get to the bottom of the security concern.
Charamba said computerised operations and integration of all transport management systems to include vehicle theft squad is the long-term cure for the issue.
Computerisation would also eliminate spot fines.