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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Community policing identified as key weapon to curb crime

Story by Yolanda Moyo

THE conversation around creating safe communities took centre stage when the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) engaged the Bulawayo community this Thursday.

The police-community engagement held in Rangemore, Bulawayo this Thursday, saw residents giving credit to ongoing community policing initiatives for its effectiveness in tackling crime.

“These meetings are essential. They allow us to air our concerns directly to the police and learn about the challenges they face. It’s a two-way street that builds trust and empowers us to work together for a safer community,” said a resident.

“We get to hear firsthand about the crimes happening in our area and how we can be more vigilant. It also helps us understand what the police are doing to address these issues. Before these engagements, there was a big gap between the police and the community. Now, we feel comfortable reporting suspicious activity and working together to keep our neighbourhoods safe and we believe from here we can see more police patrolling in our area,” said another.

ZRP spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi emphasised the importance of these engagements in creating safe communities.

“We understand that fighting crime is not a task for the police alone. Crime prevention is a two-way street. By partnering with residents, we can create a more secure environment for everyone. By working together with residents, we can create a network of informed and vigilant citizens who can be our eyes and ears in the community.

“These engagements allow us to hear residents’ concerns directly and tailor our strategies accordingly. These meetings allow us to gather valuable intelligence from the community, which is crucial in our fight against crime. Additionally, they foster trust and build positive relationships between the police and the public. There is a need to expand the scope of these meetings with the Judicial Service Commission and other stakeholders being part of these meetings so that people understand how we work in the fight against crime,” he said.

Some of the successful public policing initiatives include Crime Liaison Committees, business against crime forums, neighbourhood watch programmes and the revival of the Junior Call clubs.

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