Pay for Play, Police Investigators Dare Insist

Apr 2 , 2022
By Eden Sahle

Following our home robbery in broad daylight, we filed a case at the police station in our district. The police's handling of the case was equally as disturbing as the robbery itself. It also answered my question about why robberies thrive in the capital city. Despite many people falling victim to burglary and reporting several cases, the police are not alarmed.

From the many people we met at the police station, we found that robberies are not followed up. Writing down robbery reports meticulously and piling up files seems to be all the police can do. Every time my family and I visit the lead investigator's office to follow up with our case, we are only told to be grateful for not being hurt. We should move on because it is unlikely for us to recover what is lost. Instead of discussing our case, the lead investigator discusses the piled-up files in front of his messy desk, telling us dreadful cases of unsolved crimes.

Out of the many staggering things to encounter at the police station is being told that the police only investigate if they have suspects that we can identify by name and address. Organised crime is being allowed to thrive. The more criminal cases are neglected, the more they can flourish, causing severe harm to the public.

Even when suspects are found, the police handle cases strangely. Take our case. Our maid was identified as the primary suspect, only to be released the next day with the police reasoning that she was crying too much and that she was middle-aged. We were openly told that they do not expect someone in their forties to commit or take part in crimes.

The police do not even know some basic laws. There were countless times that I had to tell them what the law says and what is required of them legally. It shocked me how many of the legal tenets they should know as police sounded novel to them.

There is also a new illegal approach to policing that requires victims to pay for investigation so that the police give attention to a filed case. Anyone unwilling to pay is deprived of their legal rights. Victims we met at the station have accepted this as a norm, justifying it as the only means to move the police to do their jobs. All of the people waiting at the police station affirmed that they were in our shoes until they started paying and their case began to get attention. They encouraged us to bribe the police if we were keen on having our case solved.

I also met a man whose house was raided by three armed men in the middle of the night. Everything was captured on camera and saved on his phone - from how they climbed the gate to how they navigated each room of his G+3 house.

It was disturbing to watch the collaboration the robbers received from the man’s maid, who is captured on camera arranging things for them. Even with such visible video proof, the police released his maid, telling him there was not enough evidence to keep her under custody. The police told him that simply because she greeted the robbers in a friendly way, chatted with them and wiped their fingerprints from the items they touched in the middle of the night, does not mean she helped them.

It is odd how various cases are being abandoned, leaving people wandering through their own and forcing them to take matters into their own hands. These desperate actions that start out as protecting oneself can have a dangerous implication that can do more harm than good. Police are assigned to provide security, protection and bring perpetrators to justice. Their frustrating action by failing to do their duty puts the public in more danger.

To appropriately handle the burden of protecting lives and properties, police should be trained and be aware of their responsibilities. They should step up to the difficult task of solving cases and preventing them from happening again in the future by collaborating with the public. They should also actively and effectively execute investigations instead of expecting perpetrators to come to them while they wait at their desks.

PUBLISHED ON Apr 02,2022 [ VOL 23 , NO 1144]

Eden Sahle is founder and CEO of Yada Technology Plc. She has studied law with a focus on international economic law. She can be reached at

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