Thursday, August 18, 2022

Mixed feelings over setting up independent police commission

There are mixed feelings over the establishment of an Independent Police Commission following allegations of misconduct, such as false arrest, detention and torture perpetuated by police officers.

 Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Ramadeluka Seretse, confirmed in an interview that there have been some differences on how the Commission should be composed.

 He said that the government had earlier wanted to house it under the police but later realised that it would not be a good move since it was focusing on investigating the same police service.

The minister explained that they had proposed that it should be housed under the Defence, Justice and Security but they are differences of opinion since some want it as an independent body.

He promised that the Commission will be established after consultations with relevant stakeholders are completed.

Seretse said that the government is in the process of amending the Police Act to provide the establishment of an independent Police Commission as a follow up to Lobatse MP Nehemiah Modubule’s Parliamentary motion on the matter. Seretse also stated that, currently, they have established Botswana Police Internal Affairs Unit.

He said that the Unit was established by the Commissioner of Police in 2009 and it started to operate fully in 2010. According to the Minister, the formation of the Unit was necessitated by, among other things, a growing number of complaints involving the conduct of the police towards their customers.

He further said that the mandate of the Unit is to maintain the integrity and reputation of the Botswana Police Service through, fair and objective conduct of investigations on the conduct of Police Officers.

The minister also noted that the unit investigates allegations of misconduct such as false arrests/detention and torture, unlawful discharge of firearms as well as other serious incidents to determine compliance with the Botswana Police Service’s policy and procedure guidelines.

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