More than 4,000 police investigations are still incomplete

Hertta-Maria Amutenja

Namibia has a staggering total of number 4377 incomplete police investigations across all 14 regions, with Khomas harbouring a daunting 2736 ongoing cases.

Other affected regions include Erongo (70), Hardap (109), Kharas (74), Kavango East (132), Kavango West (36), Kunene (57), Ohangwena (210), Omaheke (92), Omusati (128), Oshana (319), Oshikoto (148), Otjozondjupa (222), and Zambezi (44).

In a recent session of the National Assembly, Popular Democratic Movement member Reggie Diergaardt inquired about the challenges faced by various police stations in completing investigations.

Minister of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety, and Security, Albert Kawana, in response to the inquiries, said Investigations are hampered by a critical lack of skills within the Namibia Police Force.

Furthermore, delays in Mutual Legal Assistance, especially in cases involving foreign witnesses, create additional hurdles.

“Delay in Mutual Legal Assistance especially in tracing foreign witnesses or complainants because investigators, as per the established protocols, are forced to work through various channels such as Interpol, Ministry of Justice and Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation. In some cases, the same procedure is applicable in requested States. Some cases are delayed because some forensic results are sent to internationally certified laboratories outside Namibia, including overseas countries,” said Kawana.

The minister further said that while investigators receive specialised training in areas such as domestic violence, financial crime, and human trafficking, the transient nature of qualified investigators, often lured away by financial institutions, leads to a range of issues.

“Delays, increased workload, cases struck from court rolls, poor communication with victims, and a surge in the court backlog are the tangible consequences stated,” Kawana.

He added that ongoing police recruitment, meticulous court docket inspections, general case docket inspections and operations, scientific investigation techniques, and incentives like team-building and awards are part of the arsenal.

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