Police told to stop detaining suspects unnecessarily

Filed under: Breaking News |

LiboLusaka Province Police Commissioner Charity Katanga has urged her fellow police officers to be professional in the administration of bond to suspects facing bondable charges.

Mrs. Katanga said it was unfortunate that some police officers have the tendency of detaining suspects for more than 48 hours in the holding cells.

She said anyone alleged to have committed an offense has the right to access police bond because that person is presumed innocent until proven guilty by the courts of law.

Mrs. Katanga noted that there were misconceptions by the members of the public in the assessment of either bond or bail.

She said the public should take keen interest in order to be enlightened on the issue.

She stated that the public should know that assessment of bond as well as bail is free as long as one provides a surety.

Mrs. Katanga said police officers should desist from detaining suspects unnecessarily because this results in overcrowding in the detention facilities.

She said inadequacies in the penal laws such as absence of proper guidelines in the exercise of discretion on the part of the police and the court when granting either bond or bail is a major contributing factor to high numbers of pre-trial detainees.

Mrs. Katanga was speaking in Lusaka today during a two-day consultative workshop for the implementation of bond and bail reforms in Zambia.

And speaking at the same function, Human Rights Commission (HRC) Deputy Director Katendi Nkombo, said the commission surveys on the access to bond and bail indicate that the legislation has been very restrictive showing over 80 percent of accused persons at pre-trial-stage not having accessed bond or bail despite facing bondable or bailable charges.

She said the right for the person to be presumed innocent is a fundamental human right and a core principle in the administration of criminal justice.