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NORTH-WESTERN RHODESIA

A no man’s land between the two territories existed and each part had its own admistration. Lochner, an officer from Bechuanaland Police Force was sent by Rhodes to conclude the agreement and when authority was granted by Lewanika to expand its economic interests, the BSA company realised the need to institute a Police Force to accomplish the mission. The Police Force was constituted and it comprised European volunteers from Southern Rhodesia. The BSA title was relinquished and the company name became British South African Police.

The area of jurisdiction of the Force included Kafue Flats and the first Police Post was established at Fort Monze, the second one was opened at Kaleya in Mazabuka. It was from these posts that police patrols of the BSA Police Force were conducted around Kafue Flats and Batoka Plateau. Police Stations were also established in Kazungula, Sesheke and Kalomo.These areas were not suitable due to threats of disease like malaria. Kalomo was identified to be ideal and was made the headquarters of North western Rhodesia Police Force. The need arose to incorporate a body of native Police officers in the Force.

Authority was granted through the proclamation of 1899 to establish the Barotse Native Police. By 1902, there were five districts each supervised by the District Commissioner and each constituted a detachment of Barotse Native Police. The areas included Monze, Nkala, Kasempa, Lealui and Victoria falls.

The Northwestern Rhodesia Police Force and Northeastern Rhodesia Constabulary were amalgamated in 1911 to form the Northern Rhodesia Police Force with its headquarters in Livingstone. The first commandant of the police force was major F.A Hodson and the organization was a military one. A limited number of about 12 Europeans were recruited to perform civil police functions. These were deployed along the line of rail and performed duties in towns and districts while the bulk of the force was called military company.

When the First World War broke out in1914, the military branch of Northern Rhodesia Police Force was declared active. The military branch fought in areas outside the limits of the country while the civil police performed duties in the towns and districts. In 1924, through an ordinance, a Police Force which was purely civil in form, character and organisation was formed as part of reorganisation. Its functions and areas of jurisdiction were clearly re-defined by the Northern Rhodesia Ordinance. The Force had also the military branch where an entrant was required to serve at least three years before being transferred to Police duties. During this time, the British Crown took over the administration of Northern Rhodesia from the British South African Company.

In 1927, a training depot was opened at Livingstone for the Civil Police. In July, 1928, a further re-organisation took place. The Officer Commanding Town and District Police was re-designated as Commissioner of Police. Military ranks of sergeant-major 1st, 2nd and 3rd class and Sergeants, were re-designated as Inspector and Assistant Inspectors. By 1932, the civil branch of the force had grown larger than the military one and it was decided to form separate units. As a temporal measure, they were given the titles of Northern Rhodesia civil Police and Northern Rhodesia military Police but later in the same year, the civil title was dropped from the former and the following year, the latter became the Northern Rhodesia Regiment which later evolved to what is known as the Zambia Army.

On the Copperbelt, mine towns, the slowness of the mining companies promoting Africans sparked off violent strikes in 1955. Armed police were used to quell the strikes with many casualties on the civilian side. Police functions were further compounded by activities of the African nationalist movements led by Keneth Kaunda’s UNIP and Harry Nkumbula’s ANC party which agitated for the end of colonial rule in Northern Rhodesia. At the same time, an uprising was looming in the north of the country where a religious movement known as the Lumpa, led by Alice Lenshina intended to break away from the country. This led to the creation of a wing of the police called the Mobile Unit in 1949. The unit acted as a striking force in disturbed areas.

The years leading to the territory’s independence were most difficult in the history of the Police. For example, in 1961, UNIP launched an extensive civil disobedience against the Colonial Government called ChaChaCha that spearheaded activities especially in the Northern, Luapula and Copperbelt provinces. Inspite UNIP’s leader’s insistence on using peaceful means to end white-minority rule in Northern Rhodesia, violence was extensively used by Kaunda’s followers. Bridges and Government buildings such as schools and courts were burnt, roads and vehicles were damaged.

In October 1964, when the territory gained its political independence, UNIP became the ruling party.

Courtesy of History and Reformation of Zambia Police: Lusaka: Unza Press

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