HARARE – It is sad that government is quietly slashing a key piece of police funding despite promising there would be no cuts in the police budget at all.
New figures tabled in Parliament yesterday confirm the extent of the cuts, forcing police bosses to scrounge for cash from other lines of revenue such as roadblocks.
Government must start wholeheartedly funding policing to transform the service for the better.
To keep balances in the black, police commissioners have no choice but to find an extra means to raise cash, and this can only be through mounting nauseating and ubiquitous roadblocks.
Central government must protect spending on the police to stop hassles on the roads, from roadblocks to spikes.
At a time crime is rising, the country is reeling from the biggest police cuts. Overall government spending has remained stagnant in cash terms, at $4 billion, but the police budget is going down.
We agree, there is a funding crisis and every department will need to make savings year-on-year by putting an end to wasteful and inefficient spending, but slashing police spending is not the way to go and is becoming an added hassle to motorists.
Reports tabled in Parliament yesterday that Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has failed to pay more than 500 graduates since June last year are disconcerting.
The police need cutting-edge approaches to reduce crime; they need money for their digital projects that will help promote diversity in policing.
We totally agree that the Forensic Science Laboratory — which is housed in the CID headquarters — needs to be fully equipped with modest technical equipment and chemicals, all of which are very expensive.
Zimbabwe’s police crime laboratory must be a modern forensic sciences facility that provides services such as DNA analysis, fingerprint identification, chemical analysis of various types of evidence, and many more.
This is also important to clear the backlog of such cases like murder and rape lodged with the ZRP and the courts of law.
The capitalisation of the Forensic Science Laboratory cannot be overemphasised since it helps to bring tangible evidence in cases which require forensic science investigations.
Out of a bid of $3,2 million needed to cover initial capital equipment, Treasury allocated a measly $400 000, which we agree is grossly inadequate. The costs of outsourcing services for DNA tests cannot be reduced given this funding shortfall.
Police need to create a joint forensics and biometrics programme — this national piece of work will reduce the time taken to provide DNA results to forces for investigations.