Malawi Police Service

The Malawi Police Service (MPS) is headed by the President of the Republic of Malawi and falls under the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Public Security. MPS is commanded by an Inspector General assisted by two Deputy Inspectors General in charge of Administration and Operations respectively. The Deputy Inspectors General are responsible for running the general administration and operations of the entire police service as well as the MPS Headquarters.The MPS is divided into four administration regions, which together comprise 34 police stations, 8 sub-stations, and 35 posts

Oversight Mechanisms

There are internal police investigatory mechanisms involving disciplinary procedures according to the Police Act.

The Police Act also establishes an Independent Complaints Commission whose powers include: to investigate any misconduct or offence allegedly committed by the Police; to investigate any death or injury in police custody or as a result of police action; and to investigate any complaints against police officers or against the Police Service. However this Commission has not yet been operationalized. It is envisaged that such a body will have more impact due to a structured legal and independent system of handling cases dealing with the police. The Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) is constitutionally mandated to investigate violations by the police and to litigate on behalf of victims of police abuse. The Constitution also establishes the office of the Ombudsman which is mandated to prosecute any police officers who abuse their powers and compensate victims of police abuse.

The effectiveness of the MHRC is limited given its wide mandate to investigate human rights violations therefore it does not specialise on police abuse and neither does it prioritize complaints against the police only. The Ombudsman’s office is not able to deal with a high number of cases and has a backlog. In addition there is an Anti- Corruption Bureau which may investigate and prosecute the police however the Bureau has not been effective in undertakings its role. The Constitution also makes provision of a Police Service Commission , which is responsible for police appointment, discipline and dismissals. Other oversight mechanisms include the Parliament, Courts, the Law Commission and Civil Society.

  1. Interpol Connecting Police for a Safer World. Country Profile: Malawi. Available at http://www.interpol.int/Member-countries/Africa/Malawi. <Accessed on 1 April 2016>.
  2. Policing and Human Rights (2012) Assessing Southern African Countries compliance with the SARPCCO Code of Conduct for Police Officials p57.
  3. https://www.issafrica.org/uploads/15_1ELUMINA.PDF
  4. Malawi Human Rights Commission, Mid Term Progress report on the Implementation of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review Recommendations, p 8 -9.
Country Category Date Title URL
Malawi General 2016 Malawi Police Shoot Dead Criminal Suspect: Found with Pistol Source
Malawi General 2015/2016 Amnesty International Country Report for Malawi 2015/2016 Source
Malawi News Story 2014 Human Rights Committee considers report of Malawi Source
Malawi General 2014 Malawi 2014 Human Rights Report Source (PDF)