Criminals Outsmarting the Police?

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By Surihe Gaomas KATIMA MULILO “Criminals in this country are two steps ahead and we as the police are two steps behind if not even more behind. We never used to have armed robberies in Caprivi and now we do,” remarked Inspector Frederick Nalisa. Inspector Nalisa, the Station Commander of the Ngoma Police Station in the Caprivi Region, voiced this concern about how a lack of resources, up-to-date technology and inadequate facilities hamper the police from effectively fighting crime in the region. In view of these challenges facing the Namibian police, he is of the opinion that perpetrators of crime have an upper hand in committing more unlawful deeds. “In the absence of resources and funds, the police are doing little and we therefore appeal for resources,” he added. Although the police are ready to fight crime, their hands are constrained by the lack of resources. Viewing this as a pertinent challenge facing the border police station, Nalisa together with principal immigration officer John Mayumbelo saw it necessary to raise this concern during a debriefing session with the Deputy Speaker Doreen Sioka who was on a recent “Outreach Programme” to the Caprivi and Kavango regions. Presently the Ngoma police station and immigration officers are without electricity and officials are working under candlelight. The working environment has deteriorated to an extent that the police and immigration officials are unable to attend to crime incidents due to lack of vehicles and a shortage of manpower and communication network. Currently, there are seven immigration officers at Ngoma. However, Mayumbelo said from this number two officials work at Kasika and Impalila stations on a three-month rotational basis. This however makes operations difficult since there is no adequate communication system for them to link up with each other. “For us to call them it is an international call through Botswana. We don’t even have transport and we are in a crisis,” explained Mayumbelo. Presently there are no immigration officers at Lianshulu and Singalamwe and to have proper up-to-date records on the number of travellers into and out of the country proves to be a cumbersome task without facilities. “It’s a burning issue because we have no records since there are no computers,” added Inspector Nalisa who added that a closer focus needs to be placed on the budget. Nationally, transport, adequate manpower and facilities are a general problem for the police force. However, the Ministry of Safety and Security is currently addressing this issue but under limited budgetary constraints. Although security is said to be under control, there have been concerns of crime in the Caprivi and most residents are seeking speedy investigations of such crimes, whether it be stock theft, drugs, murder or rape incidents. Besides these challenges, law enforcement agents face difficulties of lack of accommodation and the unhygienic salty water they have to endure. As for now requests were made by the police and immigration forces for the Ministry of Safety and Security to look into these challenges.