Recruitment and promotion practices in the Zambia Police Service from 1964 to 2009

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Chabu, Godrinton
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After Zambia’s independence from the British Colonialists in 1964, the then Zambia Police Force sped up the recruitment exercise of police officers to match the growing population and high crime rate, especially in the urban areas of the Republic of Zambia. However, currently, the rate of recruitment does not match the rate of population growth and policing service needs in the country. The current ratio of a Police Officer to a Zambian citizen is about 1:700, that is to say, there is only one police officer per 700 Zambian citizens as compared to the United Nations recommended ratio of 450 citizens to one police officer. This inadequate number of police officers has failed to deal with the escalating crime levels and high demand for police service delivery in the country. The main objective of the research was to investigate factors affecting the expansion of the Zambia Police Service in terms of recruitment and promotion practices. In order to achieve this objective, a sample of 70 respondents was used which comprised serving police officers, , retired police officers and members of the public from various walks of life. The sampling methodology used was purposive sampling. This sampling methodology was used due to the security nature of the police service. Data was collected using mainly the secondary data collection method. Interview guides were used to collect primary data from the selected sample. The content Analysis was used to analyze the data. The Research established that recruitment in the police service is done at three levels, namely, constable, direct-entry and premature recruitment. At all levels, the recruitment processes in the Zambia Police Service have, to a greater extent, been shaped by the reigning political system in the country since the colonial era. The political system has often determined the nature and extent of recruitment practices through, among other things, legislation (policy formulation) and funding to the Police Service. The political system has also impacted on the promotion practice in the Zambia Police Service, as the political head of state/government has constitutional rights to promote senior police officers since he/she is the Commander in Chief of the police service. However, there are several other systems used in the promotion of police officers in the Zambia Police Service such as accelerated promotion (done by the Inspector General of police) and application for promotion to the Promotion Board by officers who think that they deserve promotion. The findings presented in this research show that low government funding to the Zambia Police Service has been the major constraint to the expansion of the police service and delivery of quality service by the institution. Additionally, it was found that due to poor conditions of service such as inadequate and sometimes pathetic housing, gender insensitivity, political interference and the scourge of HIV and AIDS have, to some extent, inhibited the expansion of the Zambia Police Service, making it difficult to efficiently and satisfactorily meet policing service demands from the growing population. This research recommends increased government funding to the police service and non-political interference in recruitment and promotion of police officers as means to remedy police personnel insufficiency and inefficient policing service delivery by the Zambia Police Service. It is envisaged that the findings of this research will increase knowledge on recruitment and promotion practices in the Police Service.
Police-Zambia-Personnel Management , Police-Recruitment-Zambia