Inspector General (IG) of Malawi Police Service (MPS) Lexten Kachama says 57 police officers have died in the line of duty from 2014 to date.
The IG said out of the 57, 12 were female police officers.
In an interview, Kachama said the Eastern Region covering Zomba, Machinga, Mangochi and Balaka districts, was the most affected among the country’s four policing regions. Nine cops died in Eastern Region in 2014 after being involved in an accident while on the presidential convoy.
The Central Region ranks second in terms of deaths of police officers on duty as some police officers were killed by thugs in the line of duty. The Southern and Northern regions recorded the least numbers during the period under review, he said.
Kachama said most of the police officers were killed while protecting property and lives of Malawians while some in accidents as they enforced traffic rules and regulations on the country’s roads.
The IG spoke on the sidelines of a memorial service in Lilongwe yesterday, urging police officers to be alert because “anything can happen in the line of duty”.
He said: “This is not an easy gathering because memories are still fresh on the huge loss the service has gone through. These were dedicated officers who died as they were protecting life and property of Malawians.”
According to Kachama, the policing job was dangerous as officers encounter risks on a daily basis.
National Police deputy spokesperson Thomeck Nyaude agreed with Kachama that there is more vigilance now among officers.
He said: “You will agree with me that armed robbers are one of the challenges we are facing hence the need to have officers fully equipped. We will continue to work closely with the general public so that we continue safeguarding peace in the country.”
Prisca Julius, whose husband, a police officer, died during a political fracas in Thyolo East on March 14 2014, said she is still mourning her husband’s death.
“My husband left home promising to come back, but that was the last I heard from him as he was murdered at apolitical rally,” said Julius, who currently lives in Lilongwe with her three children.
During the ceremony, Kachama assured that MPS will continue assisting widows of police officers through its welfare fund. n