Acting Inspector General of Police, Duncan Mwapasa, has admitted that there are a few bad apples in the Malawi Police Service (MPS) who are denting the image of the institution.
Mwapasa was speaking in Lilongwe on Tuesday on the sidelines of the National Police Headquarters Christmas and New Year Ball.
Mwapasa’s comment comes at a time the image of the MPS got a serious battering in 2019 following allegations that the men in uniform sexually harassed 17 women in Lilongwe’s Mpingu, Mbwatalika, Msundwe and Kadzoyo areas.
It also comes at a time many people have accused the police of treating youths of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), popularly known as cadets, with kids gloves.
Others have even speculated that the police service has been infiltrated by the cadets who are compromising service delivery.
According to Mwapasa, although there are a few bad apples, majority of the officers are professionals.
“Yes, I should admit that the Malawi Police Service but 98 percent of the police officers are doing a very good job and we are working towards making sure that those ones doing anything to the contrary are disciplined.
“We are employing a lot of measures to make sure that we bridge the gap and we bring back the situation to normal. And we are conducting civic education and we would like to appeal to all stakeholders to join us in this [endeavour] to make sure that the police get back their recognition for the very important role they play in the society,” Mwapasa said.
He appealed to Malawians not to attach political propaganda to security institutions.
On reports of alleged assault on women at Msundwe, Mwapasa said the police is saddened by the allegations.
He said the police have recorded statements from the 17 women believed to have been assaulted. According to Mwapasa the women came to police with the help of Women Lawyers.
“We have set up a team to do criminal investigations and the investigations have started to try to see the authenticity of the complaint or allegation.
“Let me assure you that, if at all there is any single or a number of police officers that really did that, we cannot just leave them [go] scot free. The law will have to take its course,” Mwapasa said.
Recently, the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC), released a report on the matter which revealed that a number of women were raped while others were molested.
Mwapasa added that an inquiry team by the police has also concluded investigations on the matter, a report on which will be made public in two weeks.
“These two reports, the one from MHRC and the police, the findings will feed into the investigation that is taking place,” Mwapasa said.
On Thursday, representatives of European Union (EU) countries in Malawi demanded a swift and decisive reaction over human rights violations by the police officers.
In a statement the ambassadors have reiterated the EU’s strong partnership with the government and other stakeholders to end sexual and gender-based violence, notably through the spotlight partnership between the EU and the United Nations.
“We want to join those looking forward to a swift and decisive reaction by the competent national authorities, while providing urgently all the necessary full support to the survivors/victims of those attacks,” reads the statement.