Malawi’s police chief Lexten Kachama has ordered his officers to stop “playing” on whatsapp when they are on duty, and instead concentrate on offering security to civilians.
Kachama bemoaned the growing habit of “whatsapping” amongst some law enforcers while on duty, saying this showed “lack of professionalism”.
He made the observation on Tuesday in eastern Malawi’s resort town of Mangochi during a networking conference for female police officers.
“I am very worried about the young girls (young police officers) we are recruiting nowadays. These girls need to be counselled because some of them spend a lot of time on Whatsapp….. This must stop forthwith because it is creating a bad image for the service,” Kachama said.
He said it was shocking that some officers glued their eyes on whatsapp messages when they were assigned to be part of the security detail for the president.
Behave like dogs
The criticism came just a few weeks after police officers were also advised to begin “behaving like dogs”, as part of mending their tarnished image.
Home Affairs Minister Grace Chiumia recently urged police officers to be more professional by being loyal and disciplined the way police dogs are.
“I got very impressed by how the dogs behaved when I toured National Police Headquarters. Police dogs stand out among the rest courtesy of the training, loyalty and discipline; something I think you can apply and master in your various professional endeavours,” she said.
Chiumia said this when she toured police headquarters.
She explained that the capabilities of the police were growing slowly, but their abilities to deter and investigate crimes were limited.
While some criticised the law enforcers for poor performance, former police chief Lot Dzonzi once observed that many officers worked under heavy strain “but receive little appreciation”.
He disclosed that the major challenge facing Malawi Police Service was inadequate funding.
“It is no secret that the police service is greatly under-resourced. Resource constraints are the biggest obstacle to the performance of the police service. Malawi has some of the best police officers you can find anywhere in the world, but without resources not much can happen,” he explained.
Dzonzi added: “Believe me, it does not matter how brilliant and hardworking you are, without resources you are at zero capacity.”