Gaborone — The Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Mr Shaw Kgathi has said a safe and secure environment was a necessary platform for economic development and as such it should be at all times safeguarded.
Speaking at the opening of the on-going 44th Botswana Police Senior Officers Annual Conference held at SSG in Gaborone yesterday, Mr Kgathi praised the Botswana police for the "invaluable contribution" they continued to make towards the growth and diversification of Botswana's economy by providing a secure and safe environment.
He noted that he was consistently inspired by police officers' selfless commitment to deliver quality law enforcement to Botswana, sometimes under tough conditions.
Minister Kgathi further congratulated the police for their commitment to work as evidenced by the performance they posted during the year 2015, especially the handling of violent and intrusive crimes (break-ins and robberies).
He said reducing this category of offenses by 9.1 per cent in 2015 was a commendable effort. He however regretted that rape and murder incidents continued to increase.
There were 2 034 rape cases in 2014 and the figure jumped to 2 136 in 2015 while at the same time police recorded 274 cases of murder in 2014 and 278 in 2015. He therefore said attention should be focused in these areas.
Meanwhile, Minister Kgathi emphasised the need for community policing, noting that without community participation, the police would not achieve much in terms of delivering on their mandate.
He said the strong partnership between the police and the public had continued to play a pivotal role in the prevention and reduction of crime in the country.
He further encouraged the police to continue to exploit new and better strategies to tackle crime, especially considering the dynamics and complexities associated with contemporary crime. He regretted that Botswana continued to be confronted with complex security challenges of transnational nature such as cybercrime, human trafficking, drug trafficking and money laundering.
Mr Kgathi also decried abuse of social media which he said had become a national concern. He said while this platform was established for a good cause, some people, especially the youth had subjected it to abuse by opening false accounts under false identities for the purpose of either "insulting or victimising innocent citizens."
On a positive note, Mr Kgathi informed senior police officers that they had made recommendations to Cabinet for improvement of condition of service for the police.