Uncle Harvest on "SPECIAL POLICE CONSTABLES"

The question that needs an answer kid, “Despite low numbers, why has the Malawi Police Service not recruited and trained additional officers in the past three years?"

Recently, Malawi’s Minister of Homeland Security, Richard Chimwendo Banda, pronounced a government intention to engaged special police constables.

The concept of a Special Police Constabulary can be traced back to the United Kingdom.

It is an idea that was developed to address the tremendous need for visible police presence in the light of few numbers of uniformed police personnel.

Special constables are members of a local community with a good reputation, that can be trusted by both the police and the public.

They volunteer their services as patrol police constables for a minimum of 12 hours a week. In their deployment, they are paired with regular police constables.

It is a requirement that they are either employed or are in the business that gives them an income.

They are provided with minimum basic knowledge to operate as patrol officers and police uniform.

Unemployed people or those without a steady personal source of income do not qualify to be engaged as special constables.

It is a well-known fact that Malawi has a very poor police population ratio. The global standard is that of 1 police officer to 500 people.

Malawi should have had by now over 30 000 police officers. Yet the current numbers are less than 15000.

This would justify the adoption of the Special Constabulary while engaging in an aggressive recruitment and training programme for additional constables, particularly.

The recruitment and training of additional police constables and their proper and fair distribution in rural areas must be Malawi government priority.

From the Minister’s pronouncement, it indicates that these special constables would have far broader executive powers including that of investigations, something that even a regular constable is not normally assigned to; this will call for an amendment of the Police Act to provide for the establishment of a Special Constabulary.

This would be following wide consultations to determine the suitability and the form that the Special Constabulary would take.

The question that needs an answer kid, “Despite low numbers, why has the Malawi Police Service not recruited and trained additional officers in the past three years?"

There seems to be no urgency about it.

The situation was made worse with the "Father Christmas-like" promotions prior to the 2019 elections that left the Service with less than1000 constables, who are frustrated for being left out.

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