Malawi Police Service (MPS) is providing free security services to Catholic Church institutions in the country.
Police started providing the night guard services to the Catholic institutions on 7 January this year, according to a police communication published by the local media.
“It has been directed that from today 07/01/2022, we will start providing free night guard services from 1800 hours to 0600 hours the following day to all Catholic installations and institutions.
“Every station should quickly document the list of such installations and institutions in their jurisdiction and send them to SDCP [Compol HR] latest by 1400 hours today. All lower formations with Catholic installations and institutions will also have to provide these free guard services,” reads part of the communication which was sent to police formations.
National Police spokesperson told the local media that the police are only doing this in the Eastern Region where he said criminals hit catholic institutions over the past few weeks.
“So police management decided to provide guard services to all institutions in those areas to stop the break-ins and at the same time, to conduct the investigations in order to arrest the suspects,” said Kadadzera.
Malawi Police normally charges a fee for provision of free security services to private institutions. The money received is among others used to pay allowances to officers involved in the operations.
But Kadadzera said police officers conducting the operations are not receiving any allowances since the initiative has been made by the police as part of its mandate to protect life and property.
“It is not a private duty because it is not the Catholic Church which has hired us,” said Kadadzera
The operation is expected to end after the arrest of the suspects who have been targeting the Catholic institutions.
The arrangement with the Catholic Church has since raised concerns over the capacity of the police to provide vehicles, human resources and firearms for the operations.
Mzuzu University governance peace and security specialist Eugenio Njoloma suggested that the police should ask the church to contribute to the guard services. Njoloma added that the police should ensure that the services being offered to the church do not suffocate other services.
Catholic Church Spokesperson Father Henry Saindi commended the Malawi Police for the intervention saying the church has been affected by security problems in its institutions.
He, however, urged the police to ensure that all Malawians are protected and not only Catholic institutions.
“The insecurity we are suffering at our institutions is due to security lapses in the country. Every Malawian deserves to be secure.”