SOME police officers on the Copperbelt have vowed to continue receiving bribes and working with illegal copper dealers until the government starts giving them good salaries.
But home affairs minister Edgar Lungu says it is unacceptable for police officers to engage in corruption because of low salaries.Irate officers in Ndola said the government should forget about fighting corruption in the police service if they kept paying police officers meagre salaries.
“Even after coming into power, the PF government who promised us heaven on earth have abandoned us. The PF politicians promised to better our salaries once in power and we massively voted for them. But they have refused to better our conditions of services,” said one of the officers.
“The fight against corruption is meaningless if the government will continue giving us bad salaries. We will continue working with jerabos, because they give us a lot of money. The jerabos are considerate and we will continue working with them. They put bread and butter on our tables.”
The officers said they did not want to engage in corrupt activities but that circumstances forced them to receive bribes.
They said corruption in the police service would have been removed if the officers were getting decent salaries.
“Everyone in the police service is connected. We have people we do favours for who give us money. Our salaries are so little that they cannot even buy groceries for our houses. It is not only junior officers who are involved, even senior officers receive bribes. The bribes we get help us in our day-to-day lives,” said one officer proudly.
But Lungu said the meagre salaries in the police service should not be used as justification for wrongdoing.
“As the government, we are aware of the low salaries that police officers are getting and we are working on that. We know they don’t have a union and we are really working on their salaries, but this should not justify why they should engage in corrupt activities. Whoever will be found will be arrested,” he warned.
Lungu, however, called on police officers to be patient as the government was working on improving their salaries.