Tanzanians have been urged to desist using the police force as a dumping ground for naughty children, as they end up tarnishing the image of the force.
The warning was sounded in Mbeya over the weekend by Superintendent of Police Richard Mchomvu when responding to allegations raised against the force at a training seminar for activists working with the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC), police officers and journalists from the southern highlands.
Presenting a paper on community policing and voluntary legal compliance, the officer called for the need to educate judicial officers and other law-enforcing organs to motivate people from taking the law in their own hands.
However reacting to the presentation, the participants bombarded him with questions about unethical members and practices in the force.
One of the participants said there were times when a complainant ended up being locked up at a police station, saying such malpractices tarnished the image of the police.
An activist from Chunya, Nyahwili Kalenda, questioned the legality of some drunken police officers going to arrest a suspect, saying it tarnished the image of the force.
Another activist pointed out that some political leaders used the force to meet their goals, saying the trend ought to be rectified.
In response, SP Mchomvu said police officers were a product of the society, adding that some of the officers were in fact children who parents and guardians failed to manage and in turn off-loaded them into the force.
“If you want our force to be clean then make sure you don't send your notorious kids to police training. How do you expect a person who has been a bad element at home to be otherwise in the force? There is no training that can reverse one’s morals as it is an inborn thing that only parents can instil in their children," Mchomvu said.
LHRC and the police force have signed a memorandum of understanding under which they will collaborate in several areas in a bid to curb mob violence, extrajudicial killings and restore people's faith in the force.