Government has bemoaned the rise in robbery cases across the country and urged the police force to reduce crime, which it blames for scaring away foreign investment in the country.

Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe said this during a Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) senior officer conference held in Harare yesterday.

He said crimes such as armed robberies derailed government efforts in luring foreign direct investment because they portrayed the country as an unsafe investment destination.

“I, therefore, call upon you to redouble your efforts and summon all your operational ingenuity to come up with policing initiatives to curb the rise in crime,” Kazembe said.

“The fear of crime, especially of violent crimes, keeps citizens apprehensive and stifles business growth.

“It is also a fact that modern policing increasingly operates under public scrutiny and this calls for enhanced accountability.”

Kazembe added: “It is government expectation that as police, you continue to foster peace and stability which are the key drivers to economic growth.

“As government, it is our expectation that your broad objectives and key deliverables which are aligned to key national policy instruments such as the National Development Strategy 1 are achieved.

“Admittedly, these conferences are one such useful way for you as police commanders to reset the compass, determine if the organisation is still on course, observe mere deviations and make adjustments where necessary.”

Kazembe said his ministry would continue to lobby government for increased support for the police and to resource the ZRP.

Speaking at the same event, Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga said their goal as an organisation was to combat crime.

“Our performance as an organisation is measured against our ability to tame the tide of criminality. It is my expectation that you shall come up with cogent strategies aimed at combating crime,” he said.

“The policing terrain is a rugged endeavour which needs collective efforts and continuous cross-pollination of ideas so as to navigate pitfalls that litter the field.”