Botswana Police Service (BPS) this week shrugged off reports that it was ill-treating Special constables, its low ranking officers. BPS would also not disclose the number of officers within the same rank who were dismissed from work since the beginning of this year.
Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner, Christopher Mbulawa, said his department cannot release information on the number of dismissed officers saying such information was not for public consumption.
“We cannot discuss internal matters with the public because our officers, including those dismissed, have a right to privacy. The Police Act CAP 21:01 outlines conditions under which an officer may be dismissed from the Police Service (please read the Police Act which is online),” Mbulawa said.
The Telegraph sought to establish the number of special constable officers who were dismissed from work since the beginning of this year, the reasons for their dismissal and explanation as to why the issue of allowances and other benefits supposed to be enjoyed by officers keep on cropping up.
However Mbulawa added that “One can be dismissed for breaching the Disciplinary Code of Conduct or after being convicted in any court of law….”
On reports that some constables had their contracts not renewed or terminated after they had taken up the issue of unpaid allowances with the ombudsman office, Mbulawa described the reports as untrue.
“No Special Constable or any officer for that matter, has been dismissed for taking his/her matter to the Ombudsman. The Commissioner of Police and his members of the Senior Management Team have an open-door policy which allows officers to express their grievances to the management. It cannot be true that the same management can dismiss an officer(s) for approaching a legally constituted oversight body,” said Mbulawa.
Last week Ombudsman spokesperson Fenny Letshwiti confirmed that the special constables took up the matter with their office.
“Yes we can confirm that our Office has received an issue of alleged unpaid allowance by the Botswana Police Service involving three Special Constable Officers. The matter is still being investigated by our Office and when the investigations are complete, an appropriate action would be taken. Please note that the law requires that investigations be conducted in a private manner as per Ombudsman Act Section 6 (2),” he said.