The destruction of the Mwembeshi Police station in George compound in Lusaka by irate members of the public is totally inexcusable and must be condemned in the strongest terms possible.
It is an act of gratuitous destruction, an orgy and frenzy of mob psychology which does not serve any useful purpose, but only inflames passions and renders an air of anarchy and lawlessness.
This is not even the first time that a Police station has been attacked. The same occurred in Garden compound where equally angry residents descended on a police station which they ransacked, set ablaze together with vehicles parked at the station for safety.
The tragedy about these attacks is that they miss the real point.
The Police are not the problem. The problem is the community itself which harbours the perpetrators of crime. Those who rob and kill come from the society. This is proved by the fact that Police always recover stolen property from within the communities themselves.
This means that for every crime committed there are many families that are not only aware but are actually complicit by failing to report to the authorities.
This is true of the current crime wave in Chalala, where audacious criminals steal by the block. It is also true of the gruesome murders in which body parts have been removed.
There are people in the community who know those behind the crimes.
Removal of body parts for rituals indicates the participation and connivance of “medicine men or women” who use them for portions. Again this cannot be done without informal publicity regarding the potency of the charms made from such parts.
It means that people have been contracted to kill and remove parts which they then harvest and proceed to produce charms for sell to willing buyers.
There is a definite link between the people who contract killers, the killers and the people who buy the charms. This link extends to members of their families, friends, acquaintances and prospective customers who must know what is going on.
These are the people who should perform their civic duty to alert the Police and bring the culprits to book rather than attacking Police stations which exist to serve the community.
Damaging public infrastructure does not assist the community; rather it disadvantages them by removing the very symbol of law and order, leaving them vulnerable to even more criminal activity. This was the case in Garden township which suffered a spike in crime after the police station was damaged and police subsequently withdrawn.
Instead of targeting the Police, communities must search for and expose the perpetrators of crime. These are the people who are enemies of the society.
Fighting crime should not be left to the Police alone; it should become a community concern. Neighborhood watches should be established in all crime centers to ensure that all the people become crime conscious.
The Police must also take it upon themselves adopt modern policing strategies by recruiting and retaining community support in the manner they approach crime prevention and detection. Unless the Police and community work together, crime will continue to spread and affect more communities.