Zimbabwean police inspect motorists at a roadblock near Harare on April 1, 2008. By Alexander Joe (AFP/File)

Dealing with unprofessional ZRP checkpoints

Sadly, not all members of the ZRP have adopted the professional service ethic that Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga is encouraging. We are receiving reports of unprofessional “roadblock-era” behaviour, involving harassment of female drivers on their own. This often occurs in remote, isolated areas where perhaps the members feel they are “untouchable”. Here is my advice on how to prove them wrong …

Visit the local police station

Invest time to visit the Officer Commanding at the police station the ZRP checkpoint is operating from. Request his/her name, rank and cell number. Every region has a TRAFFIC DISPOL, who has overall responsibility for the traffic policing within his/her region. Request his/her name, rank and cell number. Store both contacts in your phone.

Mention these names to the members at the problem checkpoint and you’ll almost always see an attitude adjustment for the better.

Install a dashboard camera

Unprofessional mischief usually occurs where the offending ZRP member feels he/she cannot be identified. A dashboard camera, or “dash cam” immediately overcomes this perception. As we saw during the roadblock-era, motorists using a dash cam experienced less harassment and greater respect. However, if you use a dash cam it is essential that you know how to use it, ESPECIALLY the ability to replay the footage, on request! (With the selfish and negligent driving that has become the norm on our roads and in town, and the dishonest reporting of accidents, dash cams have even more merit. A subject for another time …).

Report offenders to PGHQ

There is a genuine effort, under the leadership of Commissioner-General Matanga, to create a professional police service. We all agree that offensive behaviour by members of ZRP has no place in the current environment. Therefore, motorists can expect a positive response when reporting unprofessional behaviour at PGHQ, Harare (Tel: 024-2703631). However, do expect to have to follow up … request a report number and the name/rank of everyone you deal with.

Facebook group Dear ZRP is always available to report behaviour at ZRP checkpoints, both negative and positive.

Finally, remember that your own attitude and behaviour has a direct influence on the outcome at a ZRP checkpoint. Display the same polite behaviour that you expect to receive and 9 times out of 10 the encounter will be peaceful and amicable.

Safe travel,

Sean Quinlan

Big Sky Supplies, Managing Director

Dear ZRP, Admin

Road Users Association, Co-founder

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