More than 5 000 people were arrested for stock theft and other related cases countrywide during the last three months while a 32 percent decrease has been noted in the number of cattle stolen.According to police, 161 were arrested for stock theft and 4 854 for stock theft related cases.
During the same period, 1 522 cattle were stolen in 767 cases that were reported.
Police Anti-Stock Theft Unit national co-ordinator Senior Assistant Commissioner Bernard Dumbura, said these cases were reported between January and March.
“During the same period last year, 1 944 cattle were stolen in 934 cases, which were reported countrywide. The number of cattle stolen has decreased by 32 percent, while the cases decreased by 18 percent,” he said.
Masvingo and Midlands provinces had the highest number of cases reported this year.
Snr Asst Comm Dumbura said police were committed to developing and empowering smallholder farmers by securing their livestock.
He said the ZRP had come up with initiatives such as building houses for police officers in farming areas to ensure they were accessible to the farmers. Other efforts include, conducting surveillance on activities by players in the meat industry and community policing, a programme which saw the ZRP extensively involving traditional leaders and the communities in policing.
Snr Asst Comm Dumbura said despite the achievements, the need to continue fighting stock theft remained paramount.
In the last two weeks alone 1 000 people were arrested for stock theft and other related cases countrywide.
Police said 39 people were arrested for stock theft, while 947 others were up for related cases under an operation code-named “Nyama Yabvepi” launched to curb stock theft.
During the operation, they also recovered 84 cattle and four goats that had been stolen.
A total of 23 butcheries and 10 food outlets were also closed during the crackdown.