Police Reforms: Restructuring and the Police Human Rights Record - A case study of Lusaka and Kafue Police Districts
Nkaka, Micheal B.
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This study focuses on the structural reforms relating to service delivery and human rights undertaken by the Zambia police force from 1995. From the advent of independence the Zambia Police Service has undergone several administrative and operational changes resulting from the colonial legacy and liberation struggles in Zambia and Neighbouring Countries. The nature of police operations has also reflected the spill over of its militaristic role inherited from the colonial era and First Republic into the Second Republic. In addition, it may be noted that in the Second Republic, the Police Service was characterized by what the Human Rights Commission, chaired by a Lusaka Lawyer Bruce Munyama, reported as many cases of human rights abuses. Between 1991 and 1994, the Zambia Police Service had been marked by a record of human rights violations of political dissidents. The nature of police operations has also reflected the spill over of its militaristic role into the Third Republic as police continued carrying firearms even when carrying out duties which did not require guns. The third observation which may be noted between 1991 and 1994 is what the Human Rights Commission revealed as cases of human rights abuses. The expressed concerns of Government through the Munyama Commission, despite the existence of the gap between rhetoric and practice, the advocacies done by NGOs all provide context for the initiation of the Police Reforms between 1994 and 1995. There were also pressures from the United Nations, Regional Organizations and the country's Multilateral and Bilateral Partners to reform the police force. Zambia, as a member of the United Nations and the African Union, both of which acknowledge the right to life and outlaws torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, needs a professional human rights orientated police. It is against this background that in 1994, the government started to make moves towards reforming the police whose general objectives were as follows: Reduce the National Crime Rate by 50% within four years, reduce the Human Rights abuses by half within four years, and improve the public image of the Police and Improve police/public cooperation and partnership. The police also resolved that the police changes its name from 'Zambia Police Force' to 'Zambia Police Service' and adopt the 'Community-based Policing' model of law enforcement as part of its image and emphasize its new policing strategy. The main purpose of this study was to investigate whether these structural reforms led to improved delivery of police services, enhancement of the police human rights record and public image in Lusaka and Kafue following the formulation and implementation of various policies and related programmes by the police. The study employed qualitative, quantitative and content analysis methods of investigation. Purposive sampling was adopted to select key informants concerned with police reform programme (PRP), while systematic random sampling was used to select respondents for whom the police reform programme (PRP) was intended. Secondary data was collected from official documents of the institutions visited while primary data was collected through interviews with key informants and through a survey of the Zambia Police Service Officers at Police Formations based in Lusaka and Kafue, and from members of the general public. The sample size was 250 respondents. Statistical Package for social sciences (SPSS) was used to analyze data collected from the survey in the month of November and December 2006. An assessment of the impact of the police reform policies, programmes and strategies that were implemented over the years indicated that most of the reform objectives were only partially implemented mainly due to non-availability of finding to the police organization for implementing the police reform objectives. In future such type of police reforms need material, financial and technical assistance. In short, the Zambia Police Service has undergone administrative and operational changes as a result of its colonial legacy, emergence of armed robberies and the effects of the Liberation Struggles in Neighbouring countries. In addition, the introduction of the One Party State and the subsequent re-introduction of a Multiparty Political System in Zambia have equally affected the police administration and operations. The result of these influences led to unsatisfactory service delivery and negative human rights record of the Zambia Police. However, police reforms were introduced in 1995 in an attempt to improve service delivery and police human rights record. Therefore, the main purpose of this study is to investigate whether these structural reforms led to improved delivery of police services, enhancement of the police human rights record and public image in Lusaka and Kafue following the formulation and implementation of various policies and related programmes by the police.