THE Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) is now asking recruits to pay for their upkeep during their six months training.
Police sources told the Zimbabwe Independent that it was a new requirement for cadets to pay for their meals to ease the strain on the forceâ€™s budget.
Cadets, the sources said, were last Friday each asked to deposit $700 billion into the ZRP bank account to cater for their food.
Wayne Bvudzijena, police national spokesperson, yesterday confirmed that recruits were supposed to finance their upkeep, adding that it had been the norm in the force.
“It is a basic requirement that every recruit pay for his own feeding,” Bvudzijena said.
“This is not something new as during my time as a recruit we used to pay for our food.
The recruits need to be physically and emotionaly fit during their course.”
He said the payments were being done to ease pressure on the police budget.
But some of the cadets told the Independent that this was the first time the force had requested them to finance their upkeep since embarking on training early this year.
“Our group started training early this year and last Friday was the first time we were told to pay for the food we eat,” one of the recruits who declined to be named said.
“We were told to transfer $700 billion from our salaries into a ZRP CBZ account.”
The recruits said they often received inadequate supplies of food resulting in them having to eat once a day.
The ZRP is currently faced with a serious shortage of uniforms and cadets were also being asked to contribute money towards the sewing of new uniforms.
As a result, there is disgruntlement in the force, which at times results in increasing number of officers absconding from work without official leave.
Last year, Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri told a parliamentary committee that he was frustrated by the governmentâ€™s perennial under-funding of the police.
Chihuri said there were no funds to implement a computerisation programme within the force, roadblock equipment, vehicles, accommodation and enough firearms or adequate uniforms, among a host of other requirements.
By Lucia Makamure