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Kavango West police crippled by lack of resources

2021-09-23  John Muyamba

Kavango West police crippled by lack of resources
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NKURENKURU - Kavango West police chief Josephat Abel says the region is crippled by a lack of resources, which is making it hard to respond to crimes promptly and effectively.

He also said the procurement policy has added to the challenges.

Abel, in a recent media briefing, said domestic violence and stock theft were the most frequently reported cases in the region.

“Lack of resources is crippling police operations, this region is the last born region and it came at the wrong time. When it was created, there was an economic meltdown followed by Covid-19 and this region was started from scratch,” he said.

“With the prevailing crime of domestic violence and the little resources we have, it is really difficult for us to do our work properly, in terms of investigations, arresting and taking inmates to court, one have to travel 130km from Nkurenkuru to Rundu for court. We depend on Rundu for almost everything.”

Abel said whether it is a tyre they need to replace, they first need to call Rundu to get three quotations and the procurement policy in place is cumbersome for the police. 

“Remember, the police is an institution that never goes on leave. When people are on holiday, we never close. We are always at work, just like the hospital staff,” he said.

“That is why our work is very dynamic. Now we have to follow all those procedures whereby we first get the vehicle damages assessed, get quotations in Rundu, bring it to the office, send it to the headquarters in Windhoek in order for it to be scrutinised and again you have to wait for the purchase order or invoice, then take it to Rundu for that vehicle to be repaired. The garage will tell you ‘we will call you when we are done with your car’.”

Apart from domestic violence and stock theft, the region has seen an increasing crime of trading in protected animal products. There are a number of incidents where the police arrested people with pangolin products and elephant tusks.

“As a region, we have programmes in place to combat these crimes. We have public education to make the community aware and work with the police. Covid-19 also affected our crime prevention programmes,” he said. 

“We have suggestion boxes, but it seems the public is unfamiliar with them, we have one in Nkurenkuru at Shoprite whereby they can put their written concerns, tips and suggestions that they want to share with the police, we will not disclose names of those that wrote to us through suggestion boxes. They can write in whatever language and also be anonymous.”

Kavango West also has a men and women volunteer programme that assists the police in the region in problem solving as well as combating crime through working with the community.

In regards to stock theft, Abel called upon traditional leaders in various communities to ensure that animals from their area are not moved without relevant permits.

They must provide descriptions of livestock on the permits in case thieves load stolen cattle with other descriptions.

Abel noted that stock theft is being fuelled by the fact that many farmers take too long to visit their farms and by that take longer to pay their workers who in turn sell livestock in secret. 

“If the region was well off, it could make our work easier. We are renting with no proper garage, so resources is never enough for us. Some of the issues might be solved once the regional headquarters and police station, which are under construction in Nkurenkuru are completed, probably by next year if funds allow,” he said.

The regional commander said these facilities will be the first ever for the police in Nkurenkuru and it will add value to the town. 

“It’s a big project, by 2022 we envisage its completion, the construction started in 2020,” he said.

- jmuyamba@nepc.com.na


2021-09-23  John Muyamba

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