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Zimbabweans Have Little Faith In Police: Report

Pan Africa research network Afrobarometer says the majority of Zimbabweans view most members of the country’s police force as corrupt.

In the latest report, the Ghana-based research network said Zimbabweans have little faith in the police because of their unprofessional conduct.

“In Zimbabwe, survey findings paint a largely unflattering picture of police interaction with the public. Among citizens who encountered the police during the previous year, a majority say it was difficult to obtain assistance, and about one-third say they had to pay a bribe.

“Majorities see most officers as corrupt and express little or no trust in the ZRP. Many also complain of unprofessional conduct, saying the police often use excessive force, stop drivers without good reason, engage in criminal activities, and fail to respect citizens’ rights. A majority of Zimbabweans report experiencing insecurity in their neighbourhoods and homes, and most say the government is doing a poor job of reducing crime,” the report said

The report said more than fifty per cent of the citizens have a sense of insecurity walking in communities.

“A majority (58%) of Zimbabweans say they felt unsafe while walking in their neighbourhood at least once during the previous year, including 42% who report feeling unsafe “several times,” “many times,” or “always.” Similarly, 50% of citizens say they feared crime in their homes. The poor are more likely to experience such insecurity.

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“About one in 12 citizens (8%) say they requested police assistance during the previous year. Six times as many (47%) encountered the police in other situations, such as at checkpoints, during identity checks or traffic stops, or during an investigation. Among citizens who asked for help from the police, 59% say it was difficult to get the assistance they needed, and 37% say they had to pay a bribe. o Among those who encountered the police in other situations, 34% say they had to pay a bribe to avoid problems.

 “Six in 10 Zimbabweans (60%) say “most” or “all” police are corrupt – by far the worst rating among 11 institutions and leaders the survey asked about. Only four in 10 citizens (42%) say they trust the police “somewhat” or “a lot.”  More than four in 10 Zimbabweans say the police “often” or “always” use excessive force against protesters (48%) and suspected criminals (44%) and stop drivers without good reason (42%). One-third (33%) say the police routinely engage in criminal activities,” read the report

Afrobarometer said only one-fourth of respondents (26%) think the police “often” or “always” operate professionally and respect all citizens’ rights.

“But almost eight in 10 (78%) consider it likely that the police will take a woman’s report of gender-based violence seriously. Only one in three Zimbabweans (34%) give the government a passing grade on reducing crime,” said Afrobarometer

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