City Police Under Fire

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By John Ekongo

WINDHOEK

When the Windhoek City Police service hit the streets mid-2005, and was subsequently commissioned by President Hifikepunye Pohamba in November 2006 as a community policing project, the service received a lot of praise for its consistent patrols.

Of late, however, the public is complaining that, instead of focussing on crime prevention and mitigation, City Police personnel is preoccupied with issuing fines left, right and centre for the smallest traffic contraventions.

The public also alleges that the City Police is opting to concentrate on traffic offences, as this is a more profitable exercise.

The public concerns arose after observations that less uniformed patrol officers are seen on the streets compared to traffic officers who are out to check parking meters every 30 minutes.

Abraham Kanime, Head of the City Police has, however, disputed these claims. Kanime and members of his top brass during an exclusive interview with New Era said there is a good explanation for the perceived lack of presence of his officers on the ground.

“To a certain extent, general patrols to me are a waste of resources, the only good thing about patrols is that they reassure residents who feel safe on seeing that members of the service are on the ground. However, for would-be criminals, they are not a deterrent,” said Kanime.

Kanime stressed that patrols at times tend to expose the police to criminals who simply shift focus and target other areas where there are no police patrols.

“What we need to do is have a community policing aspect in place – informants and the public – to help us catch the criminals.”

Against this background, Kanime said the City Police has initiated a proactive approach of community policing.

The Community Orientated Policing and Problem Solving (COPPS) initiative is but one of the tactics the service wants to employ to curb crime.

Compared to traditional policing methods, Kanime maintains that COPPS is a concept rooted in partnership with communities who furnish information.

This, he says, ensures that crime is nipped in the bud or is prevented altogether. This is in contrast with the traditional police methods, which Kanime says may not be effective in crime prevention.

The 350-member force, across all operational departments, has a hard time reducing crime to a controllable level.

Windhoek City has an estimated population of 300?

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