HARARE – The police service has started incentivising the neighbourhood watch committees by giving them job offers and uniforms, Home Affairs deputy minister Obedingwa Mguni has said.
The neighbourhood watch scheme was introduced in 1984 by the police in a bid to involve the public in policing issues.
The scheme mainly targets property owners who join and assist to conduct night patrols in their respective areas and also involves residents becoming more responsive to the risk of crime and taking action to protect their own and neighbours’ property.
The scheme is one of the major community-oriented programmes introduced after the police constabulary and is primarily meant to contain crime in residential areas.
Mguni told the Senate last week that they had started a new programme in Kariba just last week called “Police is the community and the community is police.”
“This programme involves the police working with the community in their areas.
“It is important that there be people who come from the communities who should be involved in police programmes to see what activities are happening, what needs to be done and the challenges.
“This will enable the community and police to work together and assist where there are challenges,” Mguni said while responding to a question by Senator Chief Gampu on what programmes government had in place to help committees.
According to the police, the scheme is not designed to provide full time employment, voluntary and open to medically fit and eligible male and female adults and the officer or member-in-charge of a respective station is in charge of the neighbourhood watch Committees in his area of command.
Mguni said: “We have seen that these people are very helpful. Some of them have got the requisite qualifications and age and we are incentivising them. We have recruited them to join the police force.
“Some are old and do not have the requisite qualifications. We sat down with them and highlighted this.
“They understand this but we go a step further and give them uniforms and shoes to wear during their voluntary operations.”