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Zimbabwe govt sweats over armed robberies

by Staff reporter
11 Nov 2022 at 05:16hrs | Views
GOVERNMENT yesterday admitted that armed robberies are now a menace, saying there is need for re-training of police officers to deal with the scourge before it spirals out of control.

Speaking at a breakfast meeting organised by the Security Association of Zimbabwe, Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe said armed robbers had become sophisticated and increasingly difficult to catch.

"There is need to train the police on modern-day policing. It is disturbing to note that criminals are continuously adopting creative techniques to target their victimsat an unprecedented pace and are constantly seeking methods to avoid detection," Kazembe said.

Poor equipment and lack of proper technology for law enforcement agents have been cited as the major causes of failure to curb increasing criminal activities across the country.

"To stay ahead of them, the need for relevant stakeholders to come up with services or products that make it difficult for criminals to carry out their activities cannot be over-emphasised," Kazembe said.

"Police can work hand-in-glove with security companies to eradicate crimes such as robbery. Let me, therefore, emphasise that in this 21st century, security systems should be underpinned by technological solutions for ease of doing business."

Also complicating the country's fight against armed robbers is the involvement of some rogue serving and ex-police officers and soldiers in armed robberies.

Police Deputy Commissioner-General Learn Ncube said 8 542 robberies were reported in 2022 with 4 609 being armed robberies.

"It has become a thorn in the flesh for us in the security services, just as it has sent shivers down the spines of the general citizenry we are supposed to protect. Included in the cases of armed robbery are incidents whereby security guards have been brutally attacked, their weapons taken away and in severe cases, lives lost," Ncube said.

"There is a proliferation of guns in the hands of criminals and the trend is disturbing. Almost everyday, robbers are attacking people they know to be carrying or possessing large sums of foreign currency at their homes or business premises, robbing them of cash and weapons they will be having," he added.

In August, President Emmerson Mnangagwa declared an amnesty on all illegal firearm holders to voluntarily surrender them at nearest police stations with no questions asked.

"What is more disturbing is that perpetrators are arming themselves with weapons they are getting from victims, thereby increasing and expanding their groups. The population of robbers is, therefore, growing and hence increased fear of crime," Ncube said.

"The effects of sanctions have not spared ZRP as it is not adequately resourced in terms of equipment for law enforcement.

Insurance Council of Zimbabwe chief executive Tendai Karonga said companies keeping large sums of money at their premises were attracting robbers.

"Criminals are targeting hard cash and high value goods such as jewellery and gold. Businesses and individuals are holding too much cash at their premises.  There were loopholes in the provision of security services that criminals can pick on, for example the types of money safes that are found in industry and homesteads," he said.

"Interestingly, we have noted as an industry that some of these criminals are engaging in serious crime not out of greediness or whatever, but as a profession, especially the syndicates which are defrauding the insurance industry."

Source - Newsday Zimbabwe