Close to 450 Botswana police officers handed in their badges between 2005 and 2006, mainly because of poor working conditions ÔÇô it has emerged.
The Botswana Police Service, which even on a full complement complains of manpower shortages, had 207 vacancies at the rank of constable in March 2005. These were filled in April 2005. As at November last year, the vacancy rates among constables had swelled to 398. The posts were, however, filled again through a recruitment exercise which commenced in December 2006.
“We must admit there is a problem,” Commissioner of Police, Edwin Batshu, told The Sunday Standard in a recent interview. “I have been urging government to attend to the conditions of service with particular reference to the ranks of Sergeant down to Constable.”
Batshu remembers opening the Gaborone CID office door one morning to a police officer who could hardly keep his red puffy eyes open. The CID officer had been up for the past 24 hours and was still counting the hours behind his desk. “We ask them to sacrifice, but they can only sacrifice so much,” said Batshu.
The Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration told Parliament on Friday that “the continuously high vacancy situation in the Botswana Police Service is due to the disturbing attrition rate due to resignations, early retirements and dismissals.”
The minister was answering questions from Palapye MP, Boyce Sebetela.