Freeman Razemba, Harare Bureau
THROWING spikes at moving vehicles is illegal and police officers manning roadblocks found engaging in such practices will be dealt with accordingly, Chief police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said yesterday.
According to the police, spikes should only be placed in front of vehicles when police officers suspect the driver might not stop at a roadblock.
The sentiments also come after legal experts and transport operators recently said the use of spikes by police to enforce compliance was uncivilised, as there were other modern and effective methods of traffic control and management.
In an interview yesterday, Snr Asst Comm Charamba said it was wrong to throw spikes on vehicles and urged members of the public to report such incidences.
“Spikes are not thrown at moving vehicles,” she said. “Our officers are trained to place spikes in front of vehicles where they have suspicions that the driver may fail to stop and anyone who throws a spike, that is wrong. You are supposed to place a spike.
“Some of the spikes are already there at roadblocks, on the far left side of the road and they will be permanently laid down on any particular road where the police officers will have set up roadblocks.”
Snr Asst Comm Charamba said there were two types of spikes; those that were laid down at roadblocks and others that were placed under vehicles if there was any suspicion that drivers might want to evade a road block.
She said the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Obedingwa Mguni was correct when he recently said that no police officer was allowed to throw any spikes at moving vehicles.
“When somebody throws spikes we have a clear way of reporting any misconduct,” said Snr Asst Comm Charamba. “We have got our National Complaints desk where you can phone on (04) 703631 and report such officers, that is if that happens.
“You can also report to the nearest police station. You ask to see the Officer-in-Charge, the Officer Commanding District or the Officer Commanding Province. But no spikes are thrown at moving vehicles at all costs.”
Deputy Minister Mguni said Government would invoke Section 38 of the Criminal Law to punish the offending officers.
Reads the law: “Any person who — (a) throws or propels or prepares to throw or propel any missile, article or thing at any person, motor vehicle, boat, aircraft or building with the intention or realising that there is a real risk or possibility of causing damage or injury; or (b) without lawful excuse, the proof whereof lies on him or her, overturns or attempts to overturn any motor vehicle, boat or aircraft. . . shall be guilty of obstructing or endangering the free movement of persons or traffic and liable to a fine not exceeding level twelve or imprisonment for a period not exceeding ten years or both.”
He said members of the public who witness the “dangerous practice” should take video or picture evidence, so that the cops could be punished in the courts.