10 April 2019

Botswana: Crimes Security Threat

Gaborone — Modern crimes such as cybercrime, money laundering, human and drug trafficking pose a security threat to the peace and quiet that has reigned in Botswana, Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Mr Shaw Kgathi has said.

Giving a keynote address at the 47th Botswana Police Service (BPS) senior officers annual conference in Gaborone on April 9, Mr Kgathi therefore encouraged the police to respond swiftly and tactically before the sophisticated crimes overwhelmed them.

"Strategies in the policing sector can not remain static or predictable, particularly when we are faced with challenging dynamics and complex crimes. You need to periodically interrogate the impact of your strategies and change them accordingly," he added.

To minimise crimes, the minister urged BPS to develop benchmarks within the local and international context on policing strategies and initiatives and also to redefine their response time to crime reports and emergency situations.

"Police visibility continues to be one of the best strategies for deterrence of crime and therefore is a proactive way of minimising commission of crime. Let us identify crime hotspots and deploy our human resource according to the dictates of the situation," he said.

Mr Kgathi said the ministry had already commenced a holistic approach in the formulation of a transformational agenda for the police service.

Mr Kgathi noted that the World Justice Project Index on the Rule of Law had placed Botswana at position 44 out of 126 countries globally.

For that reason, he commended BPS for the good performance and urged them to keep the momentum towards improving on the rating.

In his welcome remarks, BPS commissioner Mr Keabetswe Makgophe, assured Batswana of the organisation's steadfast commitment to continue serving with passion, humility and the highest level of professionalism.

To remain focused and effective, Mr Makgophe said BPS would continue to strengthen its crime prevention, response and case detection mechanisms.

"As part of our counter crime efforts, we have since 2018 embarked on two major national operations targeting drugs and stock theft, with positive results," he said.

So far, he said, the stock theft operation code named: "Kgomokhumo" had covered parts of Ngwaketse, Barolong, Kweneng, Kgatleng, Ngwato and Tswapong areas.

He said the intention was to extend the operation to Ghanzi and the northern part of the country.

Mr Makgophe expressied gratitude for the community support and contribution in the form of important information pertaining to the commission of the crimes which had contributed to the many arrests made.

The theme, Towards safer and secure communities: 2019 and Beyond, he said, confirmed BPS' commitment to deliver effectively on its mandate of ensuring safer and secure communities this year onwards.

"Of this year's conference key deliverables, as we are in an election year, is to plan and ensure that elections are held in a safe and secure environment in order to contribute to the staging of a credible, free and fair product," said Mr Makgophe.

"We have done this in the past and we commit to deliver the same this year," he added.

Furthermore, having managed to reduce total crime by two per cent in 2018, as compared to 2017, Mr Makgophe said crime was still under control in Botswana.

During the same period, he said "Penal Code offences recorded a slight increase of one per cent, while other offences went down by three per cent."

In addition, the police commissioner said further analysis depicted a reduction in violent and intrusive crimes, being break-ins and robbery and a six per cent increase in serious crimes.

He said specific crimes that went up and needed to be tackled were; threat to kill by 23 per cent, stock theft by eight per cent and theft of motor vehicle by eight per cent.

Mr Makgophe said government's approval of salary adjustment for police officers was a motivating factor.

The annual conference, bring together senior police officers of the ranks of senior superintendent, being district commander level, senior assistant commissioner, which is director, across the different branches of the organisation, to deliberate on issues pertaining to policing and strategy formulation.

The overarching objective is to develop implementable solutions or resolutions for effective policing.

Source : BOPA

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