Rhodesia's campaign for increased recruitment to the country's security forces has led to members of the police force being trained in guerrilla warfare.
Rhodesia's campaign for increased recruitment to the country's security forces has led to members of the police force being trained in guerrilla warfare. The move comes at a time when some of Rhodesia's businesses have been unable to cope with the loss of their young white labour force to the army.
The Police Support Unit (PSU) is a military wing of the country's police force. It is made up of regular policemen but they undergo a full military training.
Their present role is to give support to the Rhodesian army in their anti-guerrilla operations. However, it is thought that they will be of most use if the nationalist guerrillas extend the war to urban areas.
They will be able to give support to the regular police force and reserves while drawing upon their military training and experience if the army is needed elsewhere.
No official figures of the number of men in the PSU have been released by the unit is rapidly expanding. The police say that for every white member of the force there are three blacks.
Rhodesian troops have killed more than 50 black guerrillas in the past two weeks without losing a single soldier, according to the Rhodesian Defence Headquarters. The claim came just one month after the start of a major counter-offensive against the nationalists who seek to bring down Rhodesia's white minority government.
But the defence forces are not yet claiming to be winning the war. They attribute their successes to a massive call-up of men which began in March, although the extension of conscription has also hit the country's economy. Some businesses are finding it difficult to cope with the loss of their male workers.
The war zone now stretches along the entire length of the eastern border with Mozambique and has begun to spread westwards. According to conservative estimates, some 1,000 guerrillas are thought to be operating inside Rhodesia with at least 8,000 believed to be poised at bases in neighbouring Mozambique.
Talks between the Rhodesian government and the black nationalists to find a constitutional settlement to the problem have failed twice in the past year. A growing number of African leaders now believe that the only way to settle the 11-year-old dispute is by force.