Home » Judicial » 37 Cops Graduate in Kariba

IT was a rare occasion, the third of its kind since independence, when a team of 37 police officers from the Sub Aqua Unit held a pass-out parade right in the middle of Kariba Dam where they spent the last six weeks on training.

The officers spent more than an hour carrying out drills in the water during the graduation parade while being watched by guests who included Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri, who were at a vantage point in a house boat.

The drills included swimming long distances and mock searches for bodies and exhibits.

Some of the divers could been seen through underwater cameras while changing their diving suites at levels of about 20 metres under the surface.

The officers demonstrated techniques on how they protect themselves during attacks by crocodiles and hippopotamus, among other dangerous animals found in water.

New equipment, which included cameras for use under water was also unveiled.

The officers from Support Unit, who comprised 31 men and six women, were trained for the Self Contaminated Underwater Breathing Apparatus (SCUBA) Diving course by two instructors from a South African based company, Divetek.

The last Sub Aqua Unit training was conducted in 2004 and had 13 graduates.

Most police officers are not comfortable joining the unit because of the nature of its duties which expose them to danger.

The 37 officers, who will make up the unit, will be based in Harare and Bulawayo.

Speaking at the pass-out parade, Comm-Gen Chihuri said the unit required conditioned and hardened officers who were dependable and unyielding when dealing with situations.

“More importantly, as a specialist unit, you are duty bound to perform the highly challenging tasks such as retrieving submerged bodies and exhibits, rescuing marooned people during flood disasters, as well as being on standby to rescue employees repairing and carrying out maintenance work on dangerous engineering sites, among others,” he said.

Comm-Gen Chihuri urged the graduates to exercise extreme caution in the discharge of their duties, bearing in mind the dangers and challenges they were likely to encounter.

He said there was need for the force to vigorously enhance its strategies aimed at reducing response time by ensuring that the Sub Aqua unit was decentralised.

Officer Commanding Support Unit Senior Assistant Commissioner Mekia Tanyanyiwa said some of the divers had been nominated by Comm-Gen Chihuri to undergo further training in the Red Sea and Mediterranean Sea during an aanced diving course to be held in Egypt.

“This will equip and capacitate our police divers to meet the dynamic challenges in the diving spheres,” he said.

Mr Ronald George Booker, an instructor from Divetek, said the officers were determined, hardworking and had thirst for knowledge.

They covered courses such as swimming, duties of Sub Aqua, diving physics and techniques, physiology, safety and life saving, boat handling, customer care, rappelling and anti-corruption.

They also conducted lessons at Cleveland Dam, Epworth Quarry Dam and Altrac Quarry Dam.

Source : The Herald