There have been numerous complaints by members of the public that certain police officers render poor services, especially due to delays in solving criminal cases, which can take up a large amount of time.
Some have expressed disappointment about some police officers, saying they are losing confidence in investigation officers, whom they accuse of being unprofessional when it comes to resolving their cases.
Contacted for comment, Police Inspector General Sebastian Ndeitunga said the issue is being attended to.
“We receive a lot of complaints in terms of delays and poor investigation of cases and we have put up strategies to address this issue. We’re working with the Prosecutor General’s Office. We have a system that makes sure that before the docket goes to the PG, it goes to the regional commander to inspect these dockets. We’re tightening our belts to make sure that only those who go through well-articulated courses will be deployed to the CID (Criminal investigation Directorate),” he said.
He further noted that the issue of the backlog in criminal cases remains a problem.
“We have a huge backlog. It’s one of the challenges. Some police stations have a backlog of 200 to 500 [cases], which is a lot, compared to international standards. We’re conducting a docket operation to separate dockets of petty crimes from serious ones. We’re trying to clear the backlog,” he maintained.
There is also a public perception that certain police officers ignore civilians when they go to police stations for assistance, as some officers are allegedly too pre-occupied on their cellphones and are attending to private calls.
Ndeitunga condemned such behaviour, calling on the public to report such incidents immediately.
“If anyone goes to the police station and comes across this [tendency], then it must be reported immediately. There should be no delay. The words ‘efficiency and effectiveness’ should apply in the charge office. That is the window to the police,” he reacted.
However, he said, the issue of police officers being on the phone must be reported in the right context.
“Was he or she on the phone for a crime reported or was it sheer disregard for a member of public to receive required services?
“If it was done while disregarding members of the public waiting for services, it is not in the code of conduct of the Namibian police,” he noted.
He cautioned that police officers are public servants who must assist any person who comes to the charge office. He said if there are officers disregarding public appeals for assistance, his office needs to be informed immediately.
“Members of the public are entitled to look for a station commander at any police station and report such cases,” he remarked.
He explained that: “As a trained police officer, the first thing one will do is to ask: ‘what can we do for you sir, or madam?”