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January 22, 2019

Why we support new police regulations

Police officers. /FILE
Police officers. /FILE

The National Police Service Commission has rolled out new regulations that bar police officers from engaging in business outside their work — without sanction.

According to the guidelines, those who want to engage in side hustles will first seek clearance from the commission. If in the opinion of the commission such business undermines the performance of the officer, or creates a conflict of interest, they will be given the choice between their work and business. Many police officers run PSVs, breakdown services and security firms that are in direct conflict with their work.

On the face of it, this caveat would appear to constrain the right of individuals to earn a living by any means. Police officers grapple with low salaries and poor working conditions, which push them to extremes.

But at issue is the conflict between personal pursuits and public service about which choices have to be made. The security services are a special cadre of employment and those who opt to join must accept to sacrifice some privileges of ordinary citizens.

Transparency International has consistently ranked the police as the most corrupt government department. In December 2016, the commission fired 127 traffic police officers who could not explain the source of the huge sums they transacted.

We believe the new policies will secure both the public interest and the welfare of the police officers. If implemented, this could herald a new era for the much-criticised service.

Quote of the Day: “I admire the courage and self-reliance it takes to start your own business and make it succeed.”

Martha Stewart

The American business magnate and TV personality was born on August 3, 1941.

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