The mysterious death of a fourth-year Polytechnic student and the July 20 anti-government protests are still haunting the Malawi Police Service (MPS) and denting its image, a senior officer has said.
Speaking during a Christmas party for police officers on Friday in Limbe, Southern Region Police commissioner Rodney Jose said the policeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s image has suffered because of the two developments.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Above all, our corporate image has suffered and taken a battering in the courts of public opinion following a perceived view of unprofessional handling of the July 20 demos. We have also been criticised in our investigation of the death of the Poly student,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Jose said police involvement in corrupt practices was also a worry in the region and urged officers-in-charge to sensitise officers to desist from the malpractice.
Said Jose: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Recent reports by the Anti-Corruption Bureau have revealed that a number of our officers are engaged in corrupt practices. To this effect, some have lost their jobs while others await prosecution. It saddens me to read articles that put the police on top of the corruption index.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Jose said other challenges facing the police in the region include resource constraints and low police/population ratio which is at 1:1 250 against the internationally accepted ratio of 1:400.
On a positive note, Jose said the region has reduced crime in the year by 11 percent, thus from 30 950 to 27 506 cases in 2009/10 and 2010/11, respectively. The crimes that pose as threats to the communities, according to Jose, include breaking into peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s homes and business properties, robberies with violence, sexual offences and general thefts.
During the year, the police recovered 24 firearms, 86 rounds of live ammunitions, five motor vehicles, 96 television sets, 37 computers and 7 000 kilogrammes of chamba, said Jose.
In traffic management, he said the police registered a five percent decrease of road accidents, but 205 people lost their lives and 221 suffered serious injuries and 293.