Njube residents demand police support for night patrols

Residents from Ward 12 in Njube have urged the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to assign officers to accompany the neighbourhood watch committees during patrols to enhance community safety and tackle crime. 

The call was made during a residents’ meeting organized by the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) on Thursday at Njube Hall, with representatives from ZRP and Bulawayo City Council in attendance. 

Speaking during the meeting, one resident expressed concern over the absence of police officers during night patrols.

“The neighbourhood watch committee is working but we had appealed for the protective gear when they are patrolling at night, at least as police you can protect yourself, right now you are saying the crime rate is high in Lobengula, we are appealing that when they are patrolling you assign police officers to accompany them,” she said. 

“We had appealed for this and you promised that for the three groups in Lobengula, you would assign them two officers each but till today we have not seen those police officers.” 

 Furthermore, residents highlighted instances where suspects apprehended by the neighbourhood watch were allegedly released by the police shortly after being brought to the station. They called for greater accountability and transparency in the handling of such cases. 

“The other thing is that they do catch these robbers either for stealing or any other crime within the community and take them to the police but before even reaching home the culprit will be released, so we don’t know what is happening, yes we can see that you are working but on the other hand you are wrong,” she said. 

Meanwhile, another resident raised concerns about the conduct of some neighbourhood watch teams, urging the police to provide training on proper approach and interaction with residents. 

“What time are these neighbourhood watch supposed to work because you find them harassing people in the afternoon while the police are not doing their job, their approach to people is not okay, they are not trained to work well with the police, the police should not relax on duty, they are harassing residents.” 

They also questioned the imposition of restrictions on nighttime movement by certain watch teams. 

“Do we now have a curfew because it now seems like we are not supposed to travel at night yet we will be coming from work and different places, they don’t have a good approach to residents,” he said. 

In response, a representative from ZRP clarified that residents need to initiate requests for police escort during patrols. 

“The thing is the neighbourhood watch committee does not come to the police for us to give them police officers to patrol with. The committee is created by you residents, we don’t come to you and create it for you, and we assign an officer to patrol with you for the duration of the time you asked, if you are done you come back and we book you in if you made some arrests,” said the police representative.

Regarding the release of suspects, the police representative explained the vetting process conducted by the authorities and encouraged residents to seek clarification from the police station if dissatisfied with such decisions. 

“When the neighbourhood team brings a suspect, we keep them  and do vetting in the morning, we check if they are not on the wanted lists, but it can happen for example if they bring in someone for smoking weed and if they pay a fine, they are released but the challenge is that if you see them released they don’t tell you the truth but claim that they were just released.” 

“If as a community you are not satisfied by the release of an individual, you should approach us so that we explain to you what happened and we take a corrective measure,” they said.

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