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Challenges of Enhancing Performance and Responsiveness in the Police Force

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In 2005 crime and the fear of crime rose throughout Tanzania. The Police have undertaken a major reform programme. What are the key problems currently facing the Police Force, and what are the main focus areas for its reform? These questions are answered in this document, produced by the Tanzanian Police Force. It highlights the Police Force’s problems with regard to human resources management, infrastructure, ICT, its institutional and legal framework, and its finances. It also discusses the Tanzania Police Force Reform Programme, which focuses on community-based policing, professionalism and modernisation.

During the elections in 2005, levels of crime and fear of crime rose throughout the country. Simultaneously, levels of public trust and confidence in the Police Force continued to drop. Areas of particular concern include road accidents, corruption, fraud, violence, terrorism and drug trafficking. The widening economic divide in the country is likely to create a breeding ground for crime. These trends highlight the limitations of the current Police Force and make evident the pressing need for reform.

There are several problems limiting effective performance in the Tanzanian Police Force:

  • A number of problems concern human resources management. These include a lack of recruitment and training policies, an absence of human resources information systems, and inadequate training facilities. Furthermore, officers are poorly paid, undermotivated and have high rates of absence.
  • There are also problems with infrastructure, including poor offices, housing and transport, inadequate communication networks, and weak management information systems.
  • The Police Force relies on an effective national communication network. This could be improved through the use of ICT. However the current ICT infrastructure is in its infancy and requires urgent development.
  • The Police Force’s institutional and legal framework required attention. There is a lack of internal inspections, low levels of supervision, a lack of coordination in the fight against corruption, and limited accountability to the public.
  • The Police Force lacks adequate financial resources from government. This is the main cause of all secondary problems affecting the Police Force.

The Tanzania Police Force Reform Programme is composed of three major interlinked clusters of desired outcomes:

  1. Community Policing - Responsibility for law enforcement should be shared between the Police Force and the community. This proactive approach is more effective than traditional policing in terms of police-community relations, public accountability, lowering corruption, and actual levels of crime. This requires a change in attitude of police officers.
  2. Professionalism - Knowledge, skills and expertise in performing police functions should be enhanced so as to improve service delivery. Officers should uphold law and order in accordance with adherence to a code of conduct. Monitoring and evaluation systems to improve accountability should be introduced.
  3. Modernisation - Improvements should be made to facilities such as office and staff accommodation, transport, ICT, management information systems. The Police Force should also strive to have a well-educated, adequately remunerated and highly motivated workforce. This will improve the working and living environment for all police personnel so that performance is improved.

 

Author: Said A. Mwema | The President's Office-Public Service Management
Source: Mwema, S., 2008, Challenges of Enhancing Performance and Responsiveness in the Police Force, Paper presented at the National Convention on Public Sector Reforms on Achieving Rapid Results in Public Sector Reforms at Ubungo Plaza, 18th June, Tanzania
Size: 17 pages