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More than 22 000 people were arrested last year for stock theft and other related cases countrywide. According to police, 805 were arrested for stock theft while 21 566 were arrested for related cases.

Police Anti-Stock Theft national co-ordinator, Senior Assistant Commissioner Bernard Dumbura said police had carried out several operations and campaigns to curb stock theft.

“The unit recorded 4 711 cases in 2013 compared to 3 473 in 2014 translating to a 26 percent decline. A total of 10 667 cattle were stolen in year 2013 as compared to 7 292 giving a 32 percent decrease in 2014.

“A total of 805 suspects were arrested for stock theft in 2013 while 21 566 were arrested for related offences in 2014. Records for year 2014 indicate that those convicted to stock theft received sentences varying from nine to 90 years imprisonment,” he said.

Snr Asst Comm Dumbura said the number of suspects was high due to the several operations being carried out by the unit.

“The theft-related cases are high because our unit tries to stop anything related to stock theft,” he said.

Snr Asst Comm Dumbura said police is committed to development and empowerment of smallholder farmers and continues not only to secure their cattle, but also ensure that there is value addition to the national herd.

He said the ZRP has come up with different initiatives such building houses for police officers in farming areas to ensure they are accessible to the farmers.

Other initiatives include, conducting surveillance on activities by players in the meat industry and community policing, a programme which has seen the ZRP extensively involving traditional leaders and the communities in policing.

“We have also introduced the clearance certificate which has curtailed illegal movements of livestock.

“Clearance of livestock is free. All livestock transactions should be carried out by police and clearance certificate issued. The movement of livestock after clearance is only authorised by the veterinary department to reduce the spread of diseases,” Snr Asst Comm Dumbura said.

He said despite the achievements, the need to continue fighting stock theft remained paramount.

Source : The Herald

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