INSPECTOR General of Police Stella Libongani says the police service is short of more than 38,000 officers needed to adequately fight crime in the country.
Ms Libongani said the police currently has 17,200 officers, whom she said are inadequate for Zambia’s fast growing population, which is at about 13 million.
“If we are to compare that [number] with our population, we are running short of officers,” she said.
Ms Libongani said this on Sunday night when she featured on Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation Sunday Interview television programme.
She said United Nations standards recommend one officer for 250 people.
“So we are looking at about 56,000 officers as the ideal number,” Ms Libongani said.
She also said corrupt police officers have painted a bad image on the service and that the arrest of some of them is sending a correct message to newly recruited officers that ‘bad eggs’ will be removed from the service.
Ms Libongani said officers should be professional, be content with their earnings and avoid corruption.
“We are supposed to offer a service to members of the public without demanding anything from them, be it a bribe or favour of any kind,” she said.
On the gruesome murders of women, Ms Libongani said most of the suspects have been arrested and are appearing in courts of law.
She also said the rate of aggravated robberies and murder has reduced and that the police service hopes to bring the general crime level further down.
“We still have few places where it [crime] is being reported. An indication that we still need to put in a lot of efforts by ensuring that we bring crime levels to manageable levels,” she said.
Meanwhile, Ms Libongani said traffic police officers should not force erring drivers to pay immediately they are caught committing an offence.
She said traffic offences are not wrongdoings that require traffic officers to receive fines immediately but that erring motorists can be charged and be allowed to pay later.
“The motorists should not pay there and then. They are not obliged. They have a right to pay at a later time. If they do not pay, we can take such a matter to court,” Ms Libongani said.