Senior Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers have instructed junior officers to avoid being photographed in situations that display their poverty.
In a leaked internal memo dated 7 May, police chiefs said that officers who are pictured using unconventional forms of transport would be acting irresponsibly.
This comes after police officers have been photographed while riding scotch carts and travelling in Honda fit boots. Read the memo in part:
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 memo came from “DCG Admin” – believed to refer to Deputy Commissioner General in charge of Administration, Stephen Mutamba.
He warned police officers who are pictured in such situations that they face disciplinary action. The memo read:
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.
The memo was addressed to middle-rank police officers in charge of police stations across the country.
It directed them to “lecture their officers on the proper conduct of uniformed police officers”, adding:
Commanders at all levels should take this warning seriously as it will certainly have implications on their ability to supervise their subordinates.
Zimbabwe’s police officers are poorly paid and poorly equipped and this forces them to travel in public buses and commuter omnibuses.
At times, they ride on the back of trucks or ask well-wishers for free transport to move from one place to another.