POLICE last Friday made an important announcement that they had stopped the barbaric method of throwing spikes on cars that evade roadblocks to stop drivers after a realisation that it endangers lives.
The decision follows an accident a fortnight ago where 16 commuters were seriously injured in Bulawayo after a police officer threw spikes in front of a commuter omnibus full of passengers.
Police spin doctors went on overdrive soon after the accident trying to spin themselves out of the embarrassing incident that angered residents who are now fed up with traffic cops who openly solicit for bribes from public transport drivers.
There were attempts to blame the accident on the under-aged driver who has since been taken to the courts facing various charges emanating from the accident. As we write, four women who survived that accident are still fighting for their lives at Mpilo Central Hospital.
The women are struggling to pay their bills and cover for treatment in cases where the hospital is demanding cash up front.
Their plight has attracted the interest of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), which is now preparing to sue the force over the accident that occurred along Khami Road.
The basis for the lawsuit is plausible because the actions of the police were not only irresponsible, but were reckless.
Certainly victims of that accident cannot be expected to foot their own bills when it is clear that it resulted from irresponsible behaviour on the part of the police.
Therefore, ZLHR should be applauded for taking the initiative to pursue the case because someone has to put a stop to impunity by State agencies, especially the police.
However, the success of the ZLHR suit would mean that taxpayers will pay for the indiscipline in the police force.
Once again, the incident should be a warning to the police that they cannot be a law unto themselves.
There are minimum policing standards that they are expected to adhere to and this does not mean putting people’s lives in danger no-matter the circumstances.
Stopping the use of spikes at roadblocks is one way of putting a stop to that impunity.