Namibian Police records show that criminal activities, perpetrated by the youth, are on the increase. The youth are being arrested mainly for crimes such as the use, possession of and dealing in illegal drugs, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, murder, rape, robbery, and housebreaking, etc.
These severe criminal activities result in a person being arrested, charged and ultimately convicted in a court of law. As part of the legal process, the accused person’s identity is captured in the legal system and as is saddled with a criminal record.
A criminal record is a formal document, kept by the police, of offences for which a person has been convicted. It means the person’s criminal record will only show transgressions to which they have either pleaded guilty or have been found guilty following a trial. If they were found not guilty or charged with a crime, but the matter was dismissed by law, it will not show up on their criminal record. People who have never been committed of a crime will not have a criminal record.
The disadvantages of having a criminal record
There are many disadvantages to having a criminal record. It is like a stain that cannot be washed away for a certain period.
The biggest hindrance to a criminal record is limited employment opportunities. It is almost standard that many organisations require an applicant to show that they either have no criminal record or were acquitted of a criminal offence during their recruitment process. Such organisations refer applicants to the Police station to obtain a Certificate of Conduct, a document indicating whether a person was convicted of a crime or not.
The Certificate of Conduct is obtained through the fingerprint analysis process. Fingerprints are sent to the Namibian Police Criminal Record Bureau (NPCRB) for further processing. If the records show any criminality, it will influence an individual’s chances of getting a job. Even if a person has paid their dues, and served their sentence, the criminal record remains. Although many arrests do not lead to a verdict, the majority of employers would still probably, if not definite, not be willing to hire an applicant with a criminal background.
The fingerprints verification process is vital as it helps organisations employ law-abiding citizens with a clean criminal record.
The police observed that most citizens, particularly the youth, fall prey to the execution of other people’s violent intentions, not considering that their actions violate the laws that might jeopardise their future endeavours. Therefore, the Namibian Police Force encourages all persons to abide by the country’s laws.
A criminal record is and can be an enormous disappointment and an enduring regret for many Namibians. This article should remind the youth to stay away from crime and be law-abiding citizens to safeguard their future. They should also know that crime is a violation of the laws and individuals’ fundamental rights and privileges.
The slogan of the Namibian Police is ‘Your safety is our concern’. This motto is not entirely well understood. The saying means that the police protect any person’s current and future safety in Namibia, without any favour. When the police maintain law and order, they commit to consistently keep safety and security a national priority.
Compiled by the Namibian Police Public Relations Division