‘Stop displaying your poverty’ – police chiefs tell junior officers

HARARE – Police chiefs have warned poorly-paid junior officers to avoid being photographed displaying their poverty.

In a leaked internal memo dated May 7, police bosses said police officers snapped taking part in daily struggles experienced by other Zimbabweans were “irresponsible”.

“It has come to the notice of this command that officers are taken pictures whilst commuting in scotch carts, back of trucks laden with vegetables and on top of buses whilst in police uniform. These pictures are broadcast on social media,” the police memo said.

The memo, which showed it came from ‘DCG Admin’ – believed to refer to Deputy Commissioner General in charge of Administration Stephen Mutamba – warned police officers who are photographed in such situations that they face disciplinary action.

“May this type of behaviour which is irresponsible be discouraged as it is not in keeping with good taste and propriety. Such conduct is some form of gross indiscipline and a breach of the law. Those that will be identified will face disciplinary action,” it warned.

The memo directed middle-rank police officers in charge of police stations across the country to “lecture their officers on the proper conduct of uniformed police officers.”

It added: “Commanders at all levels should take this warning seriously as it will certainly have implications on their ability to supervise their subordinates.”

Zimbabwean police officers are the worst paid in the region, earning an average Z$40,000 (about US$115).

Most junior officers have no personal vehicles and must catch a bus to work, or hustle for free transport from generous motorists.

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