- Commenced on 1 August 2010
- [This is the version of this document at 31 December 2014.]
- [Note: This version of the Act was revised and consolidated in the Fifth Revised Edition of the Laws of Malawi (L.R.O. 1/2018), by the Solicitor General and Secretary for Justice under the authority of the Revision of the Laws Act.]
Part I – Preliminary
1. Short titleThis Act may be cited as the Police Act.
2. InterpretationIn this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—“Assistant commissioner” includes a senior assistant commissioner of police;“Code” or “Disciplinary Code” means the Disciplinary Code of Conduct established by section 52 and set out in the Schedule;“Community police forum” means a community policing forum established under Part XI, and includes any sub-forum thereof;“Criminal offence”, in relation to matters of disciplinary control of police officers, means any offence, tribal by a court of criminal jurisdiction prescribed under any written law, including this Act;“Inspector General” means the Inspector General of Police appointed under section 154 of the Constitution;“Independent Complaints Commission” means the body established under Part XIII;“Independent Complaints Commissioner” means the public officer appointed under section 132;“Junior rank” means the rank of a police officer of or below sub-inspector, and “junior police officer” shall be construed accordingly;“Lay visitors’ scheme” means the lay visitors scheme established under Part XII;“National Police Disciplinary Committee” means the National Police Disciplinary Committee established under section 55;“Offence against discipline” means a disciplinary offence prescribed in the Code of Conduct or otherwise prescribed in this Act;“Officer in-charge of police” means a police officer appointed by the Inspector General to be in-charge of the police stationed in any area;“The Police”, “the Police Service” or “the Service” means the Malawi Police Service established under Chapter XV of the Constitution;“Police disciplinary committee” includes the National Police Disciplinary Committee and a subordinate police disciplinary committee;“Police officer” means any member of the Police Service;“Police Reserve” means the Malawi Police Service Reserve established under Part VIII;“Police Rewards and Fines Fund” means the fund established under Part VII;“Police Service Commission” means the body by that name established under section 155 of the Constitution and provided for under Part III of this Act;“Police station” means any place appointed by the Inspector General to be a police station and, where appropriate, includes the police formation constituting the national headquarters or a regional headquarters of the Police;“Public place” or “place of public resort” includes any premises or place to which, at the material time, the public have, or are permitted to have, access, whether upon a payment or otherwise;“region” means any part of Malawi designated under section 11 to constitute a region for the purposes of the administration of the Police Service;“Senior rank” means the rank of a police officer of or above inspector, and “senior police officer” shall be construed accordingly;“service”, in relation to service in the Malawi Police Service, does not include service as a member or an officer of the Police Service Commission or the Independent Complaints Commission or as a member of a community police forum or as a lay visitor under the lay visitors scheme, except for a police officer who is a member thereof;“Subordinate police disciplinary committee” means a police disciplinary committee established under section 55, subordinate to the National Police Disciplinary Committee;“superintendent” includes a senior superintendent and an assistant superintendent;“Superior police officer” means any police officer of or above the rank of assistant superintendent.
Part II – Constitution and administration of the Malawi Police Service
3. The Malawi Police ServiceThe Malawi Police Service established under Chapter XV of the Constitution shall operate and function in accordance with the provisions of this Act, in addition to the provisions of that Chapter.
4. General functions of the Police Service
5. Constitution of the Police ServiceThe Police Service shall comprise the Inspector General, any Deputy Inspector General, Commissioners, Deputy Commissioners, Senior Assistant Commissioners, Assistant Commissioners, Senior Superintendents, Superintendents, Assistant Superintendents, Inspectors, Sub-Inspectors, Sergeants and Constables.
6. Order of precedence, command and seniority among officers
7. General powers of the Inspector GeneralThe Inspector General shall, subject to the general directions of the Minister, have the command, superintendence and direction of the Police Service, and may, subject to this Act and to any regulations or rules made thereunder, make such appointments, promotions, and reductions in ranks and grades, other than those of superior police officers and police officers of the rank of inspector, as may be delegated by the Police Service Commission in accordance with this Act.
8. Police standing orders
9. High Command of the Police Service
10. Delegation by Inspector GeneralThe Inspector General may delegate his powers under this Act to a Deputy Inspector General, Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner, Senior Assistant Commissioner or an Assistant Commissioner except the power granted under section 8 to make standing orders.
11. Administration of the Police Service
12. Officer in-charge of police to keep prescribed books and to be responsible for stores
Part III – Police Service Commission
13. FunctionsThe Police Service Commission established by section 155 of the Constitution shall have, in addition to the functions conferred on it by the Constitution, the following functions—
14. PowersThe Police Service Commission shall have power—
15. Privilege of membersEvery member of the Police Service Commission shall have such protection and privilege, in case of any action or suit brought against him for any act done or attempted to be done in the bona fide execution of his duties, as is by law given in respect of acts done or words spoken by a judge of the High Court in the exercise of his judicial office.
16. Enforcement of attendance, etc.The Police Service Commission may require any person to attend and give evidence before it concerning any matter which it may properly consider in the exercise of its functions and powers and may require the production of any documents relating to any such matter by any person attending before it.
17. Failure to appear or to produce documents before the CommissionAny person, other than a person who is notified to appear before the Police Service Commission solely in connection with his application for appointment to a post in the Police Service, who without reasonable cause fails to appear before the Commission when notified to do so by the Commission, or who willfully fails to produce any document in his possession when requested to do so by the Commission, commits an offence and shall, upon conviction, be liable to a fine of K20,000 and to imprisonment for six months.
18. Improper disclosure
19. Improper influence and false information
20. Secretary and staff
21. Meetings of the Police Service Commission
22. Decisions of the Police Service Commission
23. DissentAny member of the Police Service Commission shall be entitled to dissent from a decision of the Commission and to have his dissent and his reasons therefore recorded in the minutes of the Police Service Commission.
24. MinutesThe Secretary shall keep minutes of every meeting of the Police Service Commission, which shall include a record of the members present.
25. Attendance expenses and allowancesAny person attending before the Police Service Commission at the request of the Police Service Commission, other than a public officer or a person who is applying for appointment to the Police Service, shall be entitled to be paid by the Police Service Commission expenses and allowances as may be determined by the Minister, from time to time, on the recommendation of the Police Service Commission.
26. Commission to hear Inspector GeneralAt the request of the Inspector General to be heard personally, the Police Service Commission shall hear him or his designated representative personally in connexion with any recommendation made by the Inspector General to the Police Service Commission.
27. Irregular representationsIn carrying out its functions and duties under the Constitution, this Act and regulations made under this Act, the Police Service Commission shall not take into account any representations made to it otherwise than in accordance with the Constitution, the Act or such Regulations.
28. Oath of office
29. Character of police service as part of public serviceFor the avoidance of doubt, the fundamental principles contained in the Public Service Act, for the administration of the public service shall be applied to the management and administration of the Police Service.[Cap. 1:03]
30. Regulations in relation to the powers and functions of the Police Service CommissionThe Minister may, on the recommendation of the Police Service Commission, make regulations for the better carrying out of the provisions of this Part, and regulations made under this section shall be cited as the Police Service Commission Regulations.
Part IV – Appointment and termination of appointment of police officers
31. Appointment of police officers
32. Arms and accoutrements to be delivered up on ceasing to belong to the Police Service
33. Police officers not to engage in other employmentNo police officer shall, without the consent of the Inspector General, engage in any employment or office other than in accordance with his duties under this Act.
Part V – Powers, duties and privileges of police officers
34. General powers and duties of police officers
35. Search by police officers
36. Power to take measurements, photographs, footprints and casts thereof
37. Power to lay informationAny police officer may lay information before a magistrate and may apply for a summons, a warrant or other legal process as may by law issue against any person.
38. No fee to be chargeable on bail bonds taken by policeNotwithstanding any other written law or any rule to the contrary, no fee or duty shall be chargeable upon bonds in criminal cases recognizances to prosecute or give evidence or recognizances for personal appearance or otherwise issued or taken by a police officer, nor shall such bonds or recognizances require to be sealed.
39. Power of police officers to inspect licences, permits and other authorizations, and inspect vehicles
40. Duty to keep order on public roads
41. Road barriers
42. Prohibition or restriction of traffic
43. Imposition of curfews
44. Power to use firearms
45. Power to seize weapons
46. Attendance of witnesses
47. Disposal of unclaimed property
48. Non-liability for act done under authority of warrant
49. Notice of action or prosecution against a police officer
50. Salary, benefits, etc.. of a police officer not to be attached for moneyNo salary, benefit or allowance payable to any police officer shall, by a court order, be liable to be attached, sequestered or money levied in respect of any debt or claim for any money borrowed by him or by any person on his behalf, or any goods supplied to him or to any person on his behalf, unless such court order is made pursuant to any written law authorizing the attachment, sequestration or levy on a person’s salary or other employment benefit or allowance.
Part VI – Discipline
51. Disciplinary Code of Conduct — offences by police officers triable by criminal courts
52. Disciplinary Code of Conduct — offences against discipline by police officer
53. Exercise of disciplinary powers over police officers
54. Methods of dealing with offences against discipline
55. Establishment of disciplinary committees
56. Functions, composition and procedure of the National Police Disciplinary Committee
57. Functions, composition and procedure of a subordinate police disciplinary committee
58. Independence of police disciplinary committees
59. Power to summon and examine witnesses and to adjourn inquiry
60. Punishments for offences against discipline
61. Summary dealing in certain cases
62. Suspended punishment
63. Appeals from a police disciplinary committee
64. Decisions of the National Police Disciplinary Committee and the Police Service Commission on appeal
65. Appeals to the High CourtAny police officer who is found guilty of an offence against discipline and is aggrieved by the decision of the Police Service Commission to dismiss him from the Police Service or otherwise punish him may, within thirty days after receiving notification of the decision, appeal to the High Court against the decision.
66. Power of arrest and remand for offences
67. Criminal proceedings to take precedence over disciplinary proceedings
68. Power of interdiction
69. Dismissal of a police officer convicted of a criminal offence
70. Pay not to accrue during absence without leave or imprisonmentNo pay shall accrue to any police officer in respect of any day during which he is absent from duty without leave or is undergoing any sentence of imprisonment:Provided that in any case the Inspector General may, in his discretion, authorize the payment of such proportion of pay, not being more than one-half, as he may think fit.
71. Fines to be recovered by stoppage of pay
72. Damage to or loss of equipmentIf any police officer pawns, sells, loses by neglect, makes away with or willfully damages any arms, ammunition, accoutrements, clothing or appointment supplied to him or any Government property or any exhibit or any lost, stolen or unclaimed property committed to his charge he may, in addition to or in lieu of any other punishment, be ordered by the Inspector General or any appropriate superior police officer or by his officer in-charge to make good the amount of such loss or damage, and such amount may be recovered by stoppage from his pay in the same manner as provided for the recovery of fine by stoppage of pay under section 71.
73. Pension rights lost by dismissal
74. Membership of trade union prohibited
75. Mode of complaint by a police officer
76. Evidence to prove a disciplinary charge to be presented by police prosecutorsEvidence to prove a charge for an offence against discipline in any hearing before a police disciplinary committee shall be presented by members of the police prosecution department.
77. Jurisdiction of ordinary courts not affectedNothing in this Part shall affect the jurisdiction of any ordinary court to try and punish any person for an offence triable by a police disciplinary committee.
Part VII – Police Rewards and Fines Fund
78. Establishment of the Police Rewards and Fines Fund
79. Rewards to police officers as informers payable to the FundAll rewards, forfeitures and penalties, which by law are payable to informers shall, when the information is laid by a police officer, be paid into the Police Rewards and Fines Fund.
Part VIII – Malawi Police Reserve
80. Establishment of Police ReserveThere shall be established in Malawi a reserve Police Service to be known as the Malawi Police Reserve (in this Act otherwise referred to as the “Police Reserve”) which shall consist of former police officers of good character to the satisfaction of the Inspector General—
81. Engagement and declarationEvery member of the Police Reserve upon joining shall sign an engagement in the prescribed form and shall on his admission to the Police Reserve, make and sign an oath or a declaration in the prescribed form.
82. Inspector General to have commandThe Inspector General shall have the command, superintendence and direction of the Police Reserve, and may make such appointments as he may see fit.
83. Calling upThe Inspector General may, by order, call up the whole or any part of the Police Reserve for service whenever it appears to him expedient to do so in the interest of the Police Service, and such calling up order shall be promulgated in such manner as the Inspector General shall think fit in order to bring it to the notice of all the members of the Reserve concerned and shall also be published in the Gazette.
84. Annual training
85. Disciplinary powers over pay of reserve members on calling-up and training
86. Annual retainer
88. Uniforms, equipment, arms, etc.
89. Notification of change of addressEvery member of the Police Reserve shall notify the police station nearest to his place of residence for the time being of any change or intended change in his address.
90. General offencesAny member of the Police Reserve who, without reasonable cause, neglects or refuses to—
91. Discharge on convictionAny member of the Police Reserve who is convicted under this Part shall be liable to be discharged forthwith.
Part IX – Regulation of assemblies and demonstrations
92. InterpretationIn this Part, unless the context otherwise requires—“assembly” means any assembly, meeting, rally, gathering, concourse or procession of more than fifteen persons in or on any public place or premises or on any public road—(a)at which the views, principles, policies, actions or failure to act of the Government or any other government, or of a political party or political organization, whether or not that party or organization is registered under any applicable law, are publicly discussed, attacked, criticized, promoted or propagated; or(b)held to publicly hand over petitions to any person or to mobilize or demonstrate support for or opposition to the views, principles, policies, actions or failure to act of any person or of anybody of persons or any institution, including the Government or any other government or any governmental institution;“branch”, in relation to an organization, includes—(a)any section or committee of the organization; or(b)any local, regional or subsidiary body forming part of the organization;“convener” means—(a)any person who, of his own accord, convenes an assembly; or(b)in relation to any organization or branch of any organization, any person appointed by such organization or branch under section 93;“demonstration” means any demonstration, whether by way of a procession, march or otherwise, in or on any public place or premises or on any public road, whether by one or more persons, for or against any person, organization, cause, action or failure to take action, which is organized to be publicly held for the same purposes as in the case of an assembly;“marshal” means any person appointed as such under section 104;“organization” includes a branch thereof;“Public road” has the meaning assigned thereto by the Road Traffic Act;[Cap. 69:01]“Riot damage” means any loss suffered as a result of—(a)any injury to, or the death of, any person;(b)or any damage to, or destruction of, any property,caused directly or indirectly by, and immediately before, during or after, the holding of an assembly or a demonstration.
93. Appointment of convener and authorized persons
94. Functions and duties of a convenerThe convener shall—
95. Functions and duties of a District Commissioner or persons authorized by himThe District Commissioner, or persons authorized by him in that behalf, and within whose area an assembly or a demonstration is to take place, shall perform the functions, exercise the powers and discharge the duties assigned to that office under this Act independent of the direction or interference of any other person or authority and with impartiality.
96. Notice of assembly or demonstration
97. Information regarding a proposed assembly or demonstration of which notice has not been given
98. Consultations, negotiations, and amendments of notices
99. Refusal of, and conditions regarding, an assembly or a demonstration
100. Procedure on postponement or cancellation of an assembly or demonstration
101. Prevention and prohibition of an assembly or a demonstration
102. Review and appeals
103. Assembly or demonstration and assembly in the vicinity of parliament, state residences and courtsAll assemblies and demonstrations within the precincts of any building which is being used as Parliament, a State Residence or a court, or at an open-air place within a radius of one hundred meters from such building, are prohibited unless authorized by the Speaker, the President, or the Chief Justice, as the case may be.
104. Conduct of assemblies and demonstrations, and appointment of marshals
105. Powers of a police officer in relation to assemblies and demonstrations
106. Liability for damage arising from assemblies and demonstrations
107. Prohibition weapons at assemblies and demonstrations
108. General offence for contravening this PartAny person who does any act or thing in contravention of any provision of this Part, not made an offence under any other provision of this Part commits an offence and may be arrested without a warrant.
109. General punishment for offences against this PartA person guilty of an offence under this Part shall, if no other punishment is prescribed, be liable to a fine of K50,000 and to imprisonment for twelve months.
110. Spontaneous assembly or demonstrationIt shall be a defense to a charge of convening an assembly or a demonstration in contravention of this Part that the relevant assembly or demonstration took place spontaneously.
111. Regulations in relation to assemblies and demonstrationsThe Minister may make regulations for any of the purposes of this Part and may, in such regulations, provide for—
Part X – Public order at football matches
112. Application of this PartThis Part shall apply to all categories of football matches.
113. Disorderly conduct at football matches
114. Use of force to disperse disorderly crowds at football matches
115. Football clubs to appoint marshals
116. Role of national body responsible for football administration
117. Liability of football clubs for actions of supporters and players
118. Extension to other designated sporting events
Part XI – Community policing
119. Objectives of community policingThe Malawi Police Service shall liaise with communities, through community police forums, with a view to—
120. Establishment of community police forums
121. Membership of a community police forum
122. Functions of a community police forumThe functions of a community police forum shall be to—
123. Discharge on convictionAny member of a police forum who is convicted of any offence shall be liable to be discharged forthwith.
Part XII – Lay visitors to police station
124. Establishment and objectives of the scheme of lay visitorsThere is hereby established a scheme to be known as the Lay Visitors Scheme (in this Act otherwise referred to as the “Scheme”), the objective of which is to enable members of the local community—
126. DisqualificationA person shall be disqualified from being appointed on a panel of lay visitors if he—
127. Guidelines for lay visitorsThe Minister may issue guidelines regarding the operation of the Lay Visitor Scheme under this Part.
Part XIII – Independent Police Complaints Commission
128. Establishment of the Independent Complaints CommissionThere is hereby established a body to be known as the Independent Complaints Commission (in this Part otherwise referred to as the “Commission”) with power to do or perform all such acts and things as it may be authorized by or under this Act and any other written law.
129. Functions of the CommissionThe functions of the Commission shall be—
130. Powers of the Commission
131. Independence of the Commission
132. Composition of the CommissionThe Commission shall consist of the Independent Complaints Commissioner and other personnel in the service of the Commission.
133. The Independent Complaints Commissioner
134. Removal of the Independent Complaints CommissionerThe Independent Complaints Commissioner may be removed from his office by the Public Appointments Committee on the following grounds—
135. Functions of the Independent Complaints Commissioner
136. Other personnel of the CommissionThe other personnel of the Commission shall be officers of subordinate to the Independent Complaints Commissioner and whom he shall appoint as officers in the public service and such other persons as may be seconded or transferred to the service of the Commission with his agreement.
137. Terms and conditions of serviceThe terms and conditions of service of the Independent Complaints Commissioner and the other personnel of the Commission shall be determined by Parliament on the recommendation of the Independent Complaints Commissioner made after he has consulted with the officer for the time being responsible for the public service.
138. Funds of the Commission
140. Offences of obstructing officers of the CommissionAny person who interferes or fails to cooperate with, or otherwise obstructs, the Independent Complaints Commissioner or any employee of the Commission or other person in the service of the Commission in the discharge of the functions and powers of the Commission commits an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine of K50,000 and to imprisonment for twelve months.
141. Immunities and privilegesThe Independent Complaints Commissioner and the other personnel of the Commission and other persons in the service of the Commission shall have such immunities and privileges as are by law necessary in order to ensure the proper exercise and performance of their duties.
142. Identity documentEvery person working for the Commission shall be issued with a document, in a prescribed form, identifying him that he is an employee of the Commission or is working for the Commission and has been authorized to perform duties in the discharge of the functions and powers of the Commission as specified in this Part.
143. Disclosure of information an offenceAny person working for the Commission, whether as an employee or otherwise, who discloses any information in circumstances in which he knows or could reasonably be expected to know that such disclosure would or may prejudicially affect the performance or exercise of the functions or powers of the Commission or of the Police Service commits an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine of K50,000 and to imprisonment for twelve months.
144. Operational instructionsThe Independent Complaints Commissioner shall issue instructions in writing for the operations of the Commission regarding—
145. Officer in-charge of police to report deaths or injury in police custody or actionThe officer in-charge of police shall inform the Commission immediately of all cases of death or injury in police custody or as a result of police action.
146. Annual reports
147. Powers, etc., under any other written lawNothing in this Part shall preclude any person or authority from exercising the rights, powers, functions or duties conferred on such person or authority by or under any written law in respect of any matter otherwise provided under this Part.
148. Regulations in relation to the CommissionThe Minister may, on the advice of the Commission, make regulations for the proper implementation of this Part.
Part XIV – Miscellaneous
149. Powers to prosecute under other law not to be affectedNothing in this Act shall exempt any person from being prosecuted under any other Act for the time being in force for any offence made punishable by this Act or from being liable under any other Act to any other or higher penalty or punishment than is provided for such offence by this Act:Provided that no person shall be tried twice for the same offence.
150. Harboring on licensed premises police officers while on dutyAny keeper of a house, store or place in which intoxicating liquor is sold who, himself or by any person in his employment, knowingly harbors or entertains any police officer or permits any police officer to remain in such house, store or place, during any part of the time in which such officer has been detailed for duty, commits an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine of K10,000 or to imprisonment for three months.
151. Unlawful possession of articles supplied to police officersAny person, not being a police officer, who is found in possession of any article whatsoever which has been supplied to any police officer for the execution of his duty or any medal or decoration granted to any such officer for service or good conduct and who fails to account satisfactorily for the possession thereof or who, without due authority, purchases or receives any such article, medal or decoration from a police officer, or who aids or abets any police officer to sell or dispose of any such article, medal or decoration, commits an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine of K10,000 and to imprisonment for three months.
152. Persons causing disaffection, etc.
153. Disorderly conduct in courts, police stations, etc.
154. Being found upon police premises without lawful authority
155. Regulations and rules
History of this document
01 August 2010