Malawi Police Service has deployed some of its officers to city councils on secondment in a bid to step up security.
The country’s four city councils of Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Zomba believe the arrangement will improve enforcement of city by-laws in their respective councils.
So far, Blantyre City Council and Lilongwe City Council have completed the arrangement with the police and have taken on board 30 and 25 police officers, respectively.
In an interview yesterday, Lilongwe City Council spokesperson Tamara Chafunya said the arrangement is a step towards metropolitan police and follows challenges councils have been facing in the enforcement of some by-laws.
She noted that the hiring of police officers during special operations was costly as a single day could cost about K1.5 million.
Said Chafunya: “So, having them with us means they are our police officers. It makes it easier because on a day to day basis we know we have our police officers doing the work we were failing to do.
“This [metropolitan] is in the pipeline with the line ministry [Ministry of Local Government, Unity and Culture]. So, I think the line ministry is in the process of finalising all the necessities, what is required and looking at that closely.”
In a separate interview, Blanty City chief executive officer Denis Chinseu expressed optimism that the new arrangement would help to improve service delivery in the city.
He said the 30 police officers that started working yesterday, some will carry out general duty assignments, traffic management and investigating criminal activities, among others.
Said Chinseu: “What I would like to indicate is that the issue to do with the metropolitan police is still being discussed and currently it is at a higher level and we know that it has been escalated to the Cabinet.”
On the other hand, Mzuzu and Zomba City councils said they have taken the same route to have their own police officers.S
Social and governance commentator Humphrey Mvula welcomed the arrangement, saying it will help in the management of crimes in the cities.
In recent years, security has broken down in cities. The situation is worsened by the presence of vendors trading in undesignated spaces.