Beat patrol, a tried and tested policing strategy world over and whose philosophy is grounded on crime prevention, has now been launched in Harare Province.

“Walking the beat allows for greater observation and interaction with the people,” said Commissioner General of Police, Cde Tandabantu Godwin Matanga whilst launching the Patrol Unit at a colourful ceremony held recently at Chitungwiza town centre.

The beat system allows for greater accountability of manpower as commanders are able to check on police officers deployed in a particular area at any time. The police officers deployed on a beat usually follow a pre-defined route and timetable. If there is need for them to deviate from the route, due to other reasons, they have to notify their commander at the Control Base.

Police officers assigned to this Unit are easily identifiable with their new orange sleeves, worn with a general patrol riot gear.

The police chief said, it pained him to see private security companies taking a leading role in crime prevention while regular police officers are not visible in communities. He dispelled the notion that a beat patrol is a menial exercise done by the unschooled and unsophisticated police officers.

Ade Matanga noted that there was a tendency by some members assigned on patrol to disappear from their areas of assignment, or loiter around in their private cars, shops or surrounding buildings, hence the re-introduction of a beat patrol system.

He said beat patrols were part of a myriad of strategies aimed at improving police visibility and winning back public confidence. His message to police officers on patrol was very simple but loud and clear “Go out and patrol your areas so that you make Zimbabwe crime free, peaceful, safe and secure.”

Commissioner General Matanga urged police officers to be polite, humble, approachable and to deliver quality service to members of the public.

“Be the light that shines in darkness and may the public derive comfort from your presence. Handle people humanely and with dignity. Show respect at all times. Assist the elderly, weak, children and vulnerable. Seek to do that which is good at all times,” said CdeMatanga.

When dealing with suspects, the Police Chief added, police should be fair and treat all people with dignity.

“Police discipline and integrity expects that you will be your own supervisors at all times. Exercise restraint. Be firm, but be fair. Do not be heavy handed even when dealing with suspects. Your duty is to bring offenders to justice. Understand the diversity of humanity and be ready to work even with errant members of the public and suspects. Identify criminals and bring them to justice,” he said.

Officer Commanding Harare Province, Senior Assistant Commissioner Elias Mvere said police patrols remain the backbone of police operations.

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