THE Police Public Complaints Authority (PPCA) is calling for a revision of the Zambia Police Amendment Act of 1999 so that it could have powers to discipline erring police officers.
In the current scenario, PPCA powers end at making recommendations of punitive measures against erring police officers to the Inspector General of Police.
PPCA senior executive officer Shambase Chinyonga said this in an interview at the Zambia International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Ndola, which is being held under the theme: ‘Prosperity through business reforms and linkages’.
She said the PPCA has since made submissions to the Ministry of Home Affairs on the proposed amendment of the Zambia Police Act.
“We want the Zambia Police Amendment Act to be revised so that we can have powers to take action against erring officers. We want to revert to the 1999 act, which used to give us power to take action before it was amended in 2008,” Ms Chinyonga said.
Ms Chinyonga also said the PPCA has recorded 57 complaints from members of the public on the alleged unprofessional conduct of police officers in the last six months.
She said complaints include police inaction to respond to people’s problems, unprofessional conduct of traffic officers, corruption, bribery, brutality and police’s illegal involvement in debt collection.
Ms Chinyonga said 196 complaints were received last year about the alleged misconduct of some police officers.
She, however, did not disclose the number of erring police officers that have been dismissed from the Zambia Police Service for unprofessional conduct as the issue is beyond the PPCA’s jurisdiction.
“We are going into vigorous sensitisation of police officers country-wide to discharge their duties professionally. We also want to ask for a slot during their training to go and talk to the officers about the importance of respecting human rights and using minimum force.
“Junior officers tend to be excited when executing their duties; they should not use maximum force,” Ms Chinyonga said.
In urging police officers to uphold professional ethics, she said members of the public with information on misconduct against police should lodge in their complaints to the PPCA.
She said complaints can be submitted within two years of occurrence so that necessary actions can be taken against erring officers.
Ms Chinyonga said people living in rural areas can submit complaints to district council secretaries, while those in urban areas can report to town clerks in their respective areas.
And PPCA secretariat staffer Emmanuel Kamuyuwa counselled police officers to render the required services to members of the public and avoid illicit activities.
“By last Thursday, we received 57 complaints country-wide about some police officers with most of them from Lusaka. Police inaction, corrupt practices by some traffic officers and debt collection are major concerns among members of the public.
“Police are not supposed to collect debt on behalf of members of public. The issue of debt is a civil matter, so they should advise people to take such issues to court,” Mr Kamuyuwa said.