SOME rogue police officers take bribes to protect peddlers of illegal drugs but police now want to take action and have asked the public to pass on to Police General Headquarters (PGHQ) any information helpful in apprehending the culprits.
In most suburbs, criminal dealers sell dangerous drugs to adults and children in broad day light, often not taking too many precautions to avoid notice, while enjoying protection of some corrupt officers.
Besides mbanje, probably still the most popular illegal drug, other commonly abused drugs are crystal methamphetamine commonly known as “mutoriro”, “dombo” or “guka” plus ganja cakes, a prohibited cough syrup called BronCleer (bronco), and illicit beers known as “musombodhiya” in street lingo.
A Brazialian national Guilherme Sodre Alvenaz da Silveria was recently intercepted at Robert Mugabe International Airport with a consignment of more than 4kg cocaine, testifying to the existence of ready market for the illicit drug in the country.
Cocaine and mbanje are the drugs of choice in leafier suburbs.
Police at times raid dealers’ houses but they reportedly receive bribes from the drug dealers, some of whom now own buses and immovable properties from the dirty business. Drug dealers have become cash-cows for the corrupt officers who receive “protection fees” and allow the illicit trade.
Some residents accuse the police of alerting the dealers in advance whenever the police plan to raid known drug bases in the suburbs.
Responding to the public outcry, CID national spokesperson Detective Inspector Portia Chinho said such bad apples have no place in the police service.
Speaking on a radio show recently, Det Insp Chinho appealed for information on the corrupt officers to enable the authorities to flush them out.
“ZRP is on record saying it has no place for such unruly elements. ZRP has zero tolerance to corruption. We always say in every basket you will get one or two bad apples but what do you do with them: you throw them away.
“Give us information on these unruly cops and ZRP will pluck them out and remain with the few upright ones.
“As long as there is any incriminating evidence, feel free to come forth. The police officer involved will face the full wrath of the law,” said Det Insp Chinho.
Det Insp Chinho urged people to use suggestion boxes and police hotlines for any tip off.
“Feel free to lodge complaints with the ZRP National Complaints desk on 242-703631 or WhatsApp number 0712800197 or the Police Anti-Corruption Unit or the Police Internal Investigations Department on 0242-702083 so that we get rid of the malcontents and prevent a situation whereby the bad apple is likely to spoil others in the basket . . . ”
Police are running drug abuse awareness campaigns countrywide with a view to save the masses from the devastating effects of the dangerous substances.
The CID Drugs and Narcotics section recently embarked on an operation to curb drug abuse code-named “No to drug and substance abuse” and a number of suspects were rounded up.
At least 30 suspects were arrested for abusing and dealing in illicit drugs.
According to the police, the illicit drugs in circulation in the country are classified into the following categories: depressants, stimulants and hallucinogens, narcotics, skin lighteners, body enlargement products and sex enhancers.
Drug abuse is also contributing to the rise in commission of serious offences, the police said.
“Likewise, some serious offences we are subjected to today, are by-products of drug abuse because a great number of these drug abusers end up committing heinous crimes such as murder, robbery, theft and rape.
“Some commit the crimes just to sustain their addiction,” said Det Insp Chinho.
Some pupils are dropping out of school as a result of drug abuse.