An evaluation of the Impact of the Community Policing Strategy in Zambia: A case study of Lusaka Urban District
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The background to this study had its genesis from the fact that little was known about the impact of community policing strategy on the objectives set by the Zambia Police in 1995. The main purpose of the study, therefore, was to conduct a situation analysis and determine the extent or impact of the community policing on crime as well as on the public attitude towards crime and the police in selected communities of Lusaka urban. The study also examined the policing strategies in the colonial period (1891-1964) and the policing strategies that were employed by the Zambia police in the first, second and the early years of the third republic. In addition, find out factors if any, that hindered the implementation of community policing and possible measures to address hindrances so as to effectively implement community policing strategy programmes in selected communities of Lusaka urban district.The study evaluated police data from 1993-2009, for 2 police stations and 4 police posts retrospectively from Emmasdale and Woodlands police stations, Chipata, Chaisa, Kabulonga and Nyumba Yanga police posts with permission of the Zambia Police Service as well as data from Police Public Complaint Authority. The Sample was collected from three categorized areas of high densityy populated communities of Chaisa and Chipata compounds; Middle density populated communities of Emmasdale and Nyumba Yanga residential areas as well as in low density populated areas of Kabulonga and Woodlands residential areas. Two hundred and fifty (250) respondents constituted the Sample. Field work included the distribution of questionnaires to 100 police officers using systematic random procedure at the two (2) police stations and four (4) police posts randomly selected in Lusaka urban and 130 members from the 6 randomly selected communities of Lusaka urban using simple random sampling procedure to select respondents in the sample. Purposeful sampling procedure on 20 key informants using in--depth interviews with officials within the Zambia Police Service, Neighbourhood Watch Association members, UTH Public Relations Office, Chaisa Resident Development Committee and Police Public Complaint Authority.The findings of the study clearly indicated that despite the implementation of community policing programmes in these communities in the last 15 years, police has failed in many areas for instance, members of the public are in many instances not aware and involved in community policing, the reduction of crime by 50% as indicated in Zambia police reform objectives has not been achieved and over 95% police officers are not directly involved and not even trained in community policing. On the contrary, however, the findings of the study on community policing regarding police performance, police relationship with the public and police human rights observance, the study results shows the police have greatly improved. However, the performance of community policing programmes in Zambia remains hindered by a myriad of factors including the exponential growth of corruption, centralization and erosion of law. Further, the police are faced with operational problems and lack resources such as transport, equipments and communication facilities, and inadequate office space, manpower, and training. Further, the inadequacy of legal document to back community policing and a weak practice of accountability measures, poor conditions of service, politicization of the Zambia Police Service and lack of professionalism are major contributing factors to the current inefficiency of the police service and the inability of the police to manage crime effectively.The respondents, however, suggested the following measures to effectively implement community policing in Lusaka urban: It is important that the police service must look into the current nature of community policing which makes it difficult to fully involve the community and put in place sensitization/communication, coordination and cooperation measures as well as accountability mechanisms. The changes required for the roles on institutional character of the Zambia police and its crime policy can only be realized if the citizen’s values are taken into consideration. Working relationships need to change as well within the police service and within the community to allow the flow of information and to remove the feeling of superiority or inferiority among officers and citizens. Police officers must also change their attitude towards each other and towards the public which is a precondition for rebuilding confidence and providing security to the society. Further leaders should also show the political will to ensure compliance with the community policing by allocating appropriate resources to the Zambia Police Service to ensure they have adequate trained manpower, office space, operational equipment and transport. Consequently, future police reform programmes should take all these factors into account when aiming to transform the Police Service totally.
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