Zimbabwe: Bogus Cops On the Prowl

With more criminals masquerading as police officers the public should check police identity cards or phone the station police who approach them say they are from before letting anyone into their property or home, police have advised.

Harare Province Police Spokesperson inspector Tendai Mwanza said there has been a surge in criminals masquerading as police officers.

Inspector Mwanza said anyone claiming to be Police officers carrying out investigations should produce identification cards or should prove from which police station they are coming from.

He said every citizen has the right to check with the police station in question if such police officers do exist and if there are any investigations involving that citizen.

"In a recent case a man was robbed of his property after allowing in criminals who came disguising themselves as CID members. These people were allowed into the yard to make a search.

"He was, however, robbed of his property and his car was stolen and was used as a getaway car.

"So we would like to appeal to the members of the public not to open any door or gate upon knocking by any individuals who may be disguising themselves as police officers", said Inspector Mwanza.

Police have also discouraged individuals and the business community from keeping large sums of money at home or in offices.

Recently police have also expressed concern over the increase in armed robberies targeting people either walking on the streets or businesspeople keeping large amounts of cash.

Police have upgraded operations to combat such crime.

Many criminals masterminding armed robberies countrywide are suspected to be those recently released from jail on bail pending appeal and have been evading arrest when they break bail conditions by failing to make their scheduled reports to a police station or do not turn up in court.

Police will remain firm on the ground to ensure that peace prevails countrywide.

In a recent incident, several people have been hospitalised at Masvingo General Hospital after they were stabbed by armed robbers who attacked a Beitbridge-bound Boundary Express coach and robbed passengers between Mvuma and Mushagashe tollgate.

The unidentified armed robbers were carrying knives, pistols and machetes and bought tickets as ordinary passengers when the bus set out for Beitbridge.

The suspects had a small vehicle which was following behind the bus and was used as a getaway after the robbery.

Besides sustaining deep cuts all over their bodies, some of the passengers were thoroughly beaten up by the suspects who got away with cash and other valuables after ordering the bus driver to move into the bush and switch-off the lights.

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