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HRDC dates Inspector General on insecurity

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Gift Trapence

Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) officials Tuesday engaged Malawi Police Service (MPS) Inspector General (IG) George Kainja on the issue of growing insecurity in the country.

The development comes at a time MPS statistics indicate that the country has registered five cases of crimes of impact, raising fears that criminal acts could be on the prowl.

And, in a statement issued after the meeting, HRDC Chairperson Gift Trapence indicates that sporadic cases of crime give Malawians the impression that law enforcers are failing to apprehend those suspected of committing crimes.

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Some of the high profile incidents that have occurred recently include theft at a building close to Sanjika Palace in Blantyre, the killing of a lawyer in Blantyre, the killing of a Malawi Revenue Authority official in Dedza and the theft of a gun at Zomba Police Station.

Trapence says issues of security border on the socio-economic rights of Malawians, hence the decision to engage the IG on the issue of security.

“We, at HRDC, wanted to know what [Malawi] Police [Service] is doing to address these challenges,” he says.

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Kainja confirmed meeting HRDC officials and acknowledged the challenges.

Among other things, he highlighted that the major challenge has been a lack of personnel, with the police-population ratio currently at 1 officer to 1,300 civilians against the United Nations guidelines for policing, which stipulate that one police officer should serve 500 civilians.

“Ever since we had the new government, the crime rate is going down the slope. But this is contrary to what is going out to the public. We understand this (fear) or perception increases when we normally have what we describe as crimes of impact on the ground,” Kainja said.

He said MPS started addressing this issue through the recruitment of personnel.

There are plans to recruit 3,000 or more people into the service this year, he said.

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