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Police urge public to verify checkpoint legality before effecting citizens’ arrest

POLICE spokesperson Esther Mwaata Katongo has urged the public to always verify with authorities on the legality of checkpoints and roadblocks before effecting citizens arrests on officers suspected to have mounted an illegal checkpoint. Katongo has also urged the public to understand the distinction between Permanent Security Roadblocks and Snap Traffic checks. Lusaka Province minister Bowman Lusambo on Saturday said the government would not allow unnecessary roadblocks and urged Zambians to effect citizens’ arrest on police officers mounting illegal checkpoints.

But Katongo stated that a ministerial statement was presented in Parliament by the Minister of Home Affairs, in which he announced the reduction of roadblocks countrywide.

“We also wish to clarify that the roadblocks that were referred to in the Ministerial Statement were Permanent Security road blocks and these are roadblocks which operate on a 24:00 hours basis mainly for security reasons such as search for wanted and trafficked persons, stolen property and address many other security concerns,” she stated. “Other than these permanent roadblocks there are also snap check points which are random in nature and are mounted by traffic officers at different points in enforcing the Road Traffic Act hence ensuring that there is sanity on the roads.”

Katongo stated that the snap checks were usually mounted between 09:00 hours and 16:00 hours. She stated that before 09:00 hours and after 17:00 hours, traffic officers were usually involved in traffic management. Katongo stated that the permanent roadblocks were reduced on the basis that they were counterproductive and an inconvenience to the travelling public.

“However, on snap checks which are random checkpoints, a directive was given by the Minister of Home Affairs that they should be well coordinated by Police Commissioners of Provinces to avoid being an inconvenience to the travelling public. Section 21 of the Zambia Police Act gives mandate to the Zambia Police to regulate and control traffic as well as keep and maintain order on public roads,” stated Katongo. “We therefore wish to advise members of the public to understand the distinction between Permanent Security Roadblocks and Snap Traffic checks and should always verify with authorities on the legality of checkpoints and roadblocks before effecting citizens arrests on officers suspected to have mounted an illegal checkpoint.”

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