• July 9th, 2020

Opinion - The role of policing in preventing coronavirus 

Coronavirus has been increasing at a high rate around the globe which raised concerns and Namibia is not exempted. This pandemic virus can spread from one person to another if there are no measures put in place to avoid it from spreading. Namibia has so far reported four cases of coronavirus while South Africa reported more than 400 cases within a time frame of two weeks.

The president of the Republic of Namibia declared a state of emergency in terms of Article 26(5) of the Constitution of Namibia and was approved by the National Assembly. The state of emergency has rules and regulations that the society should adhere to. What does this mean to Police organisations? This means that section 10(1) of the Police Act 19 of 1990 should be enforced which states that  “The president may in any regulations which he or she may make under the provisions of Article 26(5) of the Namibia Constitution, during the state of emergency or national defence contemplated in that article, make provision for the employment of the force or any part thereof to assist in countering any such emergency or in the defence of Namibia, and may place the force or any part thereof, while so employed, under the orders and directions of such person as the president may for that purpose appoint.

The Namibian police is to ensure that there are no social gatherings in the communities, be in full control at all borders, sea and airports to ensure that people from restricted countries because of its high risks are not authorised.

One of the Namibian police function is to protect life and in this particular incidence is to protect life against the spreading of coronavirus. This is possible if the Namibian Police Force is prepared for this kind of public health emergency because once the number increases in the community, it will trigger an increase among police officers as they are part of the community. Police in carrying out its daily policing activities might come in conduct with a person who contracted coronavirus but should be arrested for the crime he or she have committed. They also have to control and prevent community gatherings, transportation of inmates to and from hospitals which increases exposure to contract the virus and working closely with healthcare workers who are highly exposed. Besides, the police might be requested by public health officials to locate a person who has contracted coronavirus and spreading it knowingly or unknowingly.

Therefore, the Namibian police must adopt plural policing strategy to prevent coronavirus by working hand in hand with the community, public and private agencies. Police should be proactive to ensure that voluntary restriction is adhered to, this includes those who are directed to self-quarantine as some might refuse to corporate with the authority or directives from the public health officials.

All in all, police should intensify online and media campaigns calling the community to adhere to the state of emergency regulations. Police should also consider issues that need to be addressed within the police force such as personal protective equipment and other required resources. This might be new in the police fraternity and requires education and collaboration among stakeholders.

Staff Reporter
2020-03-25 07:55:04 | 3 months ago

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