THE Zimbabwe Republic Police has transferred its entire force of over 600 officers from Beitbridge in a major shake-up suspected to have been triggered by their alleged involvement in corrupt activities and failure to contain the July 1 riots involving cross-border traders.
It is understood police bosses were not amused when their intelligence failed to get wind of the looming demonstrations where cross-border traders torched a Zimra warehouse in protest against a ban on imports of basic goods from South Africa.
A police radio signal — JC345/16 released on August 16, 2016 and classified as “A” — listed more than 60 officers from the rank of Assistant Inspector and below who were ordered to report to their new stations by August 23.
Other senior officers’ instructions were contained in separate signals.
National police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba confirmed the mass staff transfer, saying it was part of government’s directive to relocate all civil servants at Beitbridge.
We have just been the first to do so, but all government departments will soon move their staff from Beitbridge in like rotations,” Charamba said.
“Ordinarily police should be at a station for three years and not more. It’s common practice that they are transferred laterally. The government decided to transfer most civil servants at Beitbridge and police were the first to act.”
Sources at Beitbridge Police Station yesterday said they suspected the transfers were triggered by their failure to avert the July 1 violent protests against Statutory Instrument 64/2016.
The regulation removed from the open general import facility most basic goods imported by cross-border shoppers.
“Police intelligence failed, they were preoccupied by other things and failed to react,” a source said.
Beitbridge police have also been accused of facilitating smuggling and accepting bribes with a number having been arrested recently following the installation of CCTV cameras.
Police officers have also been accused of owning hundreds of pirate taxis operating at the border post.
“We are begrudgingly accepting the transfers, some have been relocated as far as Concession and what can we do?” the source asked, adding they were likely to be replaced by police from Harare.
Beitbridge residents had mixed feelings about the transfers with most saying the move was long overdue while others felt it was too harsh.
“I have never heard of a situation where everyone is transferred, it’s a first,” Angela Moyo, of Dulivhadzimo, said.