Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Correspondent
Police will deploy an additional 12 officers to patrol Bulawayo’s Cowdray Park suburb to curb rampant crime.
The suburb is one of the hardest hit by crime in the city.
A week ago an eight-man gang armed with guns pounced at TM Pick n Pay in the suburb where they tied a security guard to a tree before looting groceries worth over $700.
Cowdray Park made headlines in January following a series of robberies and rapes that were committed by a gang of nine. The gang was reportedly robbing and gang raping women and its members were arrested in the same month and were sentenced to a total 629 years in jail.
This prompted Luveve Constituency MP Cde Ntandoyenkosi Mlilo among other MPs from Bulawayo to seek an audience between the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Obedingwa Mguni and the residents on ways to improve their safety.
Yesterday, Deputy Minister Mguni met the residents and assured them of their safety.
He was accompanied by police officers who responded to questions from residents.
A police officer who declined to reveal his name informed the residents that 12 more officers were being deployed to two police bases in the suburb.
“We’re going to be deploying more officers at Empompini and Garikai police posts. Right now you’ve two officers at each base but the figure will increase to eight in both stations,” he said.
Deputy Minister Mguni welcomed the development saying it was the duty of the police to ensure the safety of the citizens.
He said plans were on course to construct a police station in Cowdray Park to respond to the growing population.
“Yes the police are increasing deployments. From two to eight and this is a big increment. But I’m aware that this area needs a police station. I will come again to mobilise the business community so that we can have a police station this side,” he said.
Deputy Minister Mguni said he will follow up on promises he made to the Cowdray Park residents.
He said police should increase their patrols in suburbs after residents complained that police presence was most felt at roadblocks.
The residents raised concern that they were few officers patrolling at night in the suburb yet they were many on the roads.
“Police are nowhere to be seen near our homes. You only see hordes of them at roadblocks. We need police officers here at night as most of these areas will be dark and have no electricity,” said one of the residents.