Police officers should not shoot to kill

Police officers should not shoot to kill

The killing of the police officer has infuriated the Police Force, to say the least. It has touched raw nerves. So, no stone was left unturned in the search for the culprit, one Kaunda.

During an elaborate search in Kaunda’s house, they said they stumbled on a cache full of guns and ammunition. But the culprit was not there. More sleepless nights were spent searching until someone showed the “smart boys in khaki” the house in which errant Kaunda was hiding.

We are told that a squad of armed police officers surrounded the house as darkness settled and spent the night watching. Oblivious to the danger that was lurking in the vicinity, Kaunda stepped out of the house at 6.30 the next morning and wandered away through the gate.

The waylaying squad sprung to its feet and gave Kaunda, who was unarmed, a very hot chase. Kaunda, who appeared to be a good sprinter, covered two kilometres with the police officers still hot on his heels. As fate would have it one of the officers got too close to Kaunda. He got captured by Kaunda who attempted to wrestle the gun from him. 

And it was at this point that the rest of the squad arrived panting with fatigue. The Kalashnikovs barked and Kaunda died in a hail of bullets. But did the police have to gun down Kaunda who was yet to get hold of the gun?  The Police Force has bragged a lot about this vendetta killing.

What baffles us is why the police did not arrest Kaunda who was yet to gain access to the gun. While we do not wish to take pity on armed robbers, we do not praise trigger-happy police officers either. It is widely known that police officers do not want to be engaged in any confrontation with suspected bandits anywhere – not even in a court of law.   It is also common knowledge that some members of the Police Force know the most notorious criminals personally. 

And they are afraid of them, hence, the need to avoid the possibility of a shootout with them. In the event of an unfortunate confrontation with armed bandits, the police often shoot to kill. For the police, this is a clear-cut solution to the problem.  Police officers are aware that some of the most dangerous armed bandits are former soldiers/police officers or members of other armed forces who have well-polished shooting skills. 

So, trifling with them is a highly risky venture. Even more worrisome is the fact that some serving members of the Tanzanian armed forces often engage in crime when off duty or on annual leave.   Some bandits are foreign serving military soldiers who sneak into this country from neighbouring countries to commit crime. Residents in Kagera, Kigoma and Mara regions have often been menaced by armed criminals of this nature.  

And there is the stark fact that some military guns are smuggled out of armouries and temporarily lent to criminals for robbery forays. This being the heart-rending reality, crime control in this country, especially armed robbery, will remain elusive for years to come.  Some police officers know armed bandits by name, address and they often collude with them to make an indecent leaving. In some cases, when the police plan an ambush on armed robbers the arrangement often leaks.

This lets the criminals off the hook.  The leak may also put police in grave danger as the criminals may decide to lay a trap and have them cornered. It is unthinkable and indeed, irrational for some police officers to have criminals in their best graces. Such officers should be weeded out of the Police Force.  Police officers are expected to protect members of the society from criminal attacks.  They are also expected to protect public and private property.    Helping criminals to commit crimes is an atrocity and an offence that is punishable by law.


We need to stick to code of ethics  and conduct for public service

PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan has expressed concern ...

Author: EDITOR

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