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Lexten Kachama orders officers to use arms

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At exactly 11:13 am Wednesday, Inspector General of Police Lexten Kachama showed his powers as he directed Northern Region Chief Operations Officer Alex Masina to immediately provide firearms to all groups of police on patrol in Mzuzu City.

Kachama gave the directive in Mzuzu at an interface meeting with the business community where the two sides discussed measures to fight crime in the region to create conducive environment for business.

Kachama gave the directive after one participant reported that on his way to the meeting, he saw groups of patrol police officers without any gun. The participant observed that increased police visibility in the city without guns would not make great impact in the fight against crime and that the officers were exposed to danger.

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The observation did not go down well with Kachama who turned to the senior officers especially the regional operations officer and barked at him: “Director of operations, that is your weakness. Call all stations now and tell them to release not less than two guns to every group of police on patrol. Tell them not to hide the guns on their back. Tell them also not to shoot anyhow.”

Later in an interview, the IG justified his order saying an officer has to carry equipment whenever on patrol.

“It is dangerous for an officer to be on patrol without guns. They may be gunned down. It is just a measure to carry equipment when on patrol,” he said.

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Senior Deputy Commissioner of Police Mclean Sapao who is second in command in the North said in an interview that he suspected that the patrol groups had no officers from the Police Mobile Service who usually carry guns.

Kachama also advised his officers not to be scared of getting killed in the course of their duty. He said reports of some officers who were killed while on duty should give them the urge to fight more until the last officer is also killed. He told them not to be discouraged by people who criticise the police for doing their work.

Said Kachama: “Never mind people who criticise us. Sometimes you do a good job and you get criticised. Continue working within the laws of this country. We shall not accept to watch people getting killed.”

During the meeting, the IG highlighted some measures the police has taken to address security issues in the country. Among them he said he would be increasing the number of uniformed officers on patrol, enhance rapid response, deal with officers involved in crime and increase officers in the anti crime section.

He advised the business community to among others avoid having predictable banking hours and employing old men. He advised them to cut tall grass and remove old vehicles around homes, have watchmen vetted by police before employing them and fix secret cameras in homes and work places where possible.

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