While the police would like people to believe that crime rate is declining in some parts of the country, the incident which happened at Mdeka, Blantyre, on Sunday night should give the law enforces a reality check that the public hardly feels safe.
Sometimes statistics do not tell a full story.
It is reported that, in this particular incident, communities at Mdeka took the law into their own hands by ransacking that area’s police unit in anger with the law enforcers’ indifference to an attack on a businessperson who runs a hospital in that location.
It is reported that thugs descended on the businessperson’s house at night, abducted him to the hospital and demanded money. While this incident was unfolding in typical Hollywood style, the businessperson’s son sneaked to the police unit to report the matter.
As usual, the police did not treat the matter with the urgency it deserved, let alone intervene, leaving the son to dash to the hospital to rescue his father, in the process getting injured.
Upon learning about the incident, the inevitable happened.
Communities vented their anger on the police unit which they destroyed and demanded that all police officers be transferred from the area.
All this reflects loss of trust between the police and the communities and also provides a reality check to the supposed decline in crime rate. This incident is by no means one-off. Crime is still rampant in many parts of the country.
Unfortunately, the police cannot deal with crime minus the goodwill of the public in the equation.
Sadly, the law enforcers are, at times, notorious for betraying such trust. This is evidenced by continued cases of the police being involved in crime such as armed robberies and, indeed, providing guns to criminals.
The sight of police officers WhatsApping, taking selfies and chatting while on duty at police units and roadblocks hardly inspires confidence in the public.
Either the recruitment policy is failing to address the basics of what is expected of the law enforcers or the general lack of ethical behaviour has infiltrated into the police, whose job demands utmost discipline.
We might not have a full side of the story from Mdeka Police but such perceived indifference to lives that are in danger is hardly isolated. What is surprising is that resources, including motor vehicles and police officers, are always readily when it comes to providing protection to high-profile figures, including the President and ministers.
But the whole police in Mdeka could not protect an individual whose hospital serves many people in the area.
So, before the police rush to celebrate their success stories in fighting crime, they should work hard to ensure that the common person, such as that of Mdeka, feel safe.
There are times when the police are handicapped due to lack of resources but we feel that our law enforcers can do better.
Where there is loss of trust, the police and communities are both losers and the whole country pays the price.
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