Malawi President Peter Mutharika says government plans to recruit and train at least 10 000 more police officers to conform to the United Nations (UN) guidelines for policing, which is one police officer to 500 civilians.
At the moment, Malawi has a ratio of one police officer to 1 300 civilians.
Mutharika, who said issues of security are at the heart of his administration’s priorities, also said that a number of initiatives are in place within the Malawi Police Service (MPS) to ensure that Malawians live in a peaceful and orderly State.
The President made the remarks yesterday when he presided over the passing-out parade of 1 874 police recruits at Police Training School (PTS) in Kanjedza, Blantyre.
Said Mutharika: “Government is also working on improving issues of transport, office accommodation, but also housing for the officers.”
He also sent a stern warning to both serving and graduating police officers against corruption by saying that the vice is evil in that it undermines the integrity as well as security of the nation.
Said the President: “I am saddened to read in newspapers that some police officers are linked to the crimes that are tormenting our society. As your Commander-in-Chief, I will not tolerate this behaviour. We are entrusted to protect our communities and it is totally unacceptable for us to be doing the opposite. The law will take its full force should such officers be caught.”
In his remarks, Inspector General (IG) of Police Lexten Kachama also cautioned the new recruits against corruption and involvement in criminal activities as his office will deal with each and every police officer involved and the long arm of the law will take its full course.
Kachama, who said it is the duty of police officers to protect and safeguard the rights of every Malawian, told the officers to be tough on criminals and that they are allowed to use force, provided it is proportional to the resistance faced.
Speaking at the ceremony, Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Affairs Atupele Muluzi said his ministry will ensure that the new police officers are posted nationwide.
The 1 874 recruits were trained at Kanjedza PTS (801), Ntakataka PTS in Dedza (676) and Mlangeni PTS in Ntcheu (397) for six months since October 1 2014. From the total figure, 21 of them hold degrees in various fields from different training institutions, 59 have diplomas and 46 hold certificates.
During the ceremony, the President also presented certificates to 23 best recruits as well as presidential police medals to three officers namely Rodney Jose, deputy IG responsible for operations, Duncan Mwapasa, former presidential guard commander who is now serving at deputy IG responsible for administration; and Wilson Matinga, commissioner of police for Eastern Region.
He also presented medals of long service and good conduct to 100 other police officers who included national police spokesperson Rhoda Manjolo and head of fiscal police Yacks Bonongwe.