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Commissioner aims to improve cops’ image

2022-08-24  John Muyamba

Commissioner aims to improve cops’ image

After 26 years in the police force, new Kavango West commander Commissioner Julia Iuze Sakuwa-Neo is determined to make a difference and change the narrative that the police are lazy, useless and corrupt.

The 47-year-old wants police to be seen as hardworking people under tough circumstances.

She said the police need support from the public to perform as expected because police alone will not be able to fight crime. 

It needs the involvement of society. 

“Together, we can do better. In this part of the country where I’m in charge, a good foundation was laid by retired commissioner Josephat Abel and team to combat crime, preserve and strengthen security, keep peace and protect lives and properties in the region. I just have to build on those efforts; in most cases, we are called by the public that police are useless, corrupt and all sorts of names; we need to change that picture,” she noted.

The Zambezi-born, mother of three believes that as a family woman, working with people is easy. 

“My approach to life is to be humble and live in harmony with everyone, regardless of their status. I started my policing career on 1 April 1996 as a recruit at the Oudtshoorn, South African Police College, where a group of young female and male members were sent outside the country for basic police training at the time,” she said.

After completing her basic police training in November 1996, she was appointed as a member of the Namibian Police force with the rank of constable, stationed at the Wanaheda Police Station in the Khomas region, where she was deployed in the charge office and later moved to station administration, where she was dealing with the police reservist. 

By April 2001, Sakuwa-Neo was transferred from the Wanaheda Police Station to the anti- motor vehicle theft investigation sub-division as an investigator. 

“In March 2003, I was transferred from the anti-motor vehicle theft investigation sub-division to the human resources directorate, national police headquarters,” she narrated.

In November of the same year, she was promoted to the rank of sergeant class one and continued to work at the personnel office. 

In March 2006, Commissioner Sakuwa-Neo was promoted to the rank of warrant officer class one and continued to work at the same office.

In March 2008, she was transferred from the human resources directorate to the procurement and logistics directorate, supply and stores division, as a staff officer – and in 2009, she was promoted to the rank of inspector. 

In June 2012, she was moved to the asset management sub-division and promoted to the chief inspector rank; she was appointed as the head of the sub-division. 

The career trajectory of Sakuwa-Neo continued to gain altitude – and in March 2016, she was promoted to the rank of deputy commissioner and appointed as the head of administration in //Kharas region. 

In March 2017, Sakuwa-Neo was transferred from the //Kharas region to Zambezi in the same position. 

By September 2019, she was again transferred from Zambezi to Oshikoto in the same position as head of administration. 

In that position, “I acted as regional commander in all regions I served. I have implemented policies aimed at crime prevention as well as administration,” she said.

On 1 July this year, she was promoted to the rank of commissioner, transferred from the Oshikoto region and appointed as the police regional commander of Kavango West.

Commissioner Sakuwa-Neo has attended and completed various courses – from basic police training to security awareness and intelligence collection training.

She did an international protection of civilian course, police attaché and diplomacy course, the Southern Africa Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation course in management and leadership for emerging policewomen leaders, as well as a sexual and gender-based violence and community policing course – to name but few. 

“I also have a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources Management and an Honours Degree in Business Administration,” she revealed. 

She has served in international assignments, such as the United Nations, as individual police advisor in Timor Leste (UNMIT 2007-2008). 

She also served in Darfur (UNAMID 2010-2012), where she eventually occupied a management position as chief of personnel and served in the AMANI Africa field exercise III in Addis Ababa, African Union head office.

As a female officer, who rose through the ranks, Commissioner Sakuwa-Neo says it was not easy because she had to prove herself to be worthwhile. 

“As we know the gender stereotype about women and men, there are always questions about ‘will she be able to do it?’; ‘it could be better if a man occupies that position and so on,’’ she said.

Although it is tough for women to do certain roles, they are indeed capable to handle tough jobs, “but we had an understanding inspector general who believes in promoting gender equality. With that, all men and women have a chance to move up the ladder, provided they show qualities of leadership, coupled with hard work,’’ she noted.


2022-08-24  John Muyamba

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