The holding cells of the Windhoek police station seem to have been turned by some of the detainees into a notorious haunt for smoking dagga, as the area around the charge office is usually engulfed in clouds of dagga smoked in the cells.
The holding cells at the Windhoek police station currently shelter 143 trial-awaiting detainees, some of whom are regarded as dangerous as they face charges ranging from murder, attempted murder, robbery and fraud.
Although Chief Inspector Kaunapawa Shikwambi, the head of police media relations in the sub-division of public relations, downplayed the frequency at which dagga is smoked among detainees in the cells New Era has on numerous visits to the charge office heard complaints from the public about the dagga smoke and strong cannabis odour drifting from the holding cells.
Of the people who complained about the out-of-control smoking of dagga in the holding cells one member of the public, who had gone to the police station with his son – who is a medical doctor – said there appears to be an increase in the wafts of dagga odour from the holding cells in the morning hours shortly after breakfast, after lunch-time and in the evenings after supper.
A New Era reporter, who in recent weeks ago visited the police station to follow up on a previous criminal case, also encountered a strong dagga stench emanating from the cells. The same was true when the reporter visited the same station a few months prior, to accompany a relative for the registration of a criminal case involving thievery from a deceased relative’s estate.
“The station commander is not aware of the smoking of dagga in the police cells. However, it a known fact that inmates’ relatives or friends smuggle dagga into the cells. This is always detected during their visits when parcel searches and cell searches are conducted,” Chief Inspector Shikwambi said upon inquiry.
When asked how it is possible that the station commander “was unaware”, she said the “use of illicit drugs and substances is a big challenge nationwide. There is definitely something that can be done if the nation can join hands and tackle the dagga predicament.”
Responding to another question on the measures that have been taken in light of the dagga scourge at Windhoek police station, Shikwambi said: “The police carry out cell searches, as well as body searches on a weekly basis, or as circumstances may demand.”
Up in smoke … This file photo for illustration purposes shows five bags of dagga, weighing 19,51 kg, confiscated in a previous police operation.