The Minister of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security, Albert Kawana is seriously concerned about what he observes as an unscrupulous behaviour among senior police officers who engage in criminal activities by stealing and aiding criminals to steal firearms and other government properties.
Kawana castigated the officers for running to the media to air their grievances deliberately avoiding existing internal channels, which have set rules of how to deal with any such concerns.
“I am concerned about the deteriorating level of discipline among members of the Namibian Police Force, regrettably including some senior officers. Although these elements are few, they can tarnish the good name of the hard working men and women in uniform. It was very disappointing to learn that some members are resorting to criminal activities, particularly stealing or aiding criminals to steal Government properties such as firearms, bribery and corruption,” said Kawana, at the Commanders Conference held in Kavango East today.
“I therefore expect this conference to pass a resolution to review the current policies on police officers who are committing crimes in order to close loopholes which are there. This will make it easy for Commanders to guard against all those who are tarnishing the good image of the force and the entire country. This will also ensure that the Police remain as professional as any other professional force can be,” he reckoned.
Kawana implored the commanders to continue the strengthening of professionalism in the force, by ensuring proper planning, and prudent utilisation and safeguarding of the allocated resources. Although he noted that the economy is not doing well, they should maintain and make use of the available resources.
“I am aware, however, that as we strive for excellence in service delivery our country is negatively affected by economic difficulties that is affecting the world today. Hence, the reduced funding for police programmes and activities which is negatively affecting policing service to the public. Despite these challenges, we must rededicate ourselves to optimally utilise the available resources to deliver efficient services to our people.”
The minister further emphasised the issue of training saying in the modern world, police training and retraining are extremely important. “I am sure you will agree with me that a single well-trained police officer can be equated to five or even ten members who lack training, necessary knowledge, skill and universally accepted qualities of being a police officer. Therefore, it is only through training and retraining of members that we can have efficient and effective force. I therefore, would like to encourage the Senior Command of the Force to consider the little allocation to the Force to prioritise and focus its efforts on training and retraining of members,” stressed Kawana, amid wide concerns that many police officers are physically unfit.
Other issues of concerns raised, were the prevalence of crime in the country which he said should not be left in the hands of the police alone as it requires a multi-sectoral intervention, mainly institutions tasked with addressing socio-economic concerns.
“Crime thrives in an environment of poverty, hunger, unemployment, and lack of economic empowerment. Therefore, as Commanders, I encourage you to master the crime trends in the country, and renew your strengths and capabilities to do your part as law enforcement officers. Our ultimate objective is to achieve a crime free nation,” said Kawana.
He also urged the conference to deliberate on traffic management matters, human resources management, enhancement of information and communication technology, as well as the management of the police fleet. He thus said, for easy implementation content of the Ministerial and the Namibian Police Force Strategic Plans, should be shared with members for reciprocation.