Friday, December 3, 2021

‘Countries to provide own security for Africa Youth Games’

The Botswana Police Services (BPS) says countries will be allowed to bring their own security personnel for the upcoming 2nd Africa Youth Games should they feel the need for such.

Answering questions at a seminar for the games’ Chef de Missions held at the University of Botswana (UB) this past week, Senior Assistant Commissioner Mathews Letsholo said countries will be welcome to provide own security.

He said as such, consultations between the BPS and the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (SARPCCO) on the matter was ongoing to see how best the issue can be addressed.

On whether private security companies would be involved, the Senior Assistant Commissioner replied on the positive, saying services like those offered by the UB will continue working hand in hand with the Police.

He went on to allay fears over whether private security services can be trusted, informing the delegates they have nothing to fear from them. Earlier when addressing the seminar on issues of Security, Senior Assistant Commissioner Letsholo, informed the delegates that the country would provide adequate security for all during the games.

He said prior to the countries and athletes arriving in the country and until they have all left, there will be a full redeployment of security personnel, which will be made of the Police and other security agencies in the country. According to Letsholo, a mobile Police Centre will also be erected at the game centre to provide quick response at all time during the games.

The full redeployment of security services will include Air Support, Mobile Support, Vehicular Patrols, SWAT and Hostage Capabilities, Canine Support as well as Crime Intelligence Support.

He informed the Chef de Missions that to ensure quick response during the games, the BPS will establish a National Command Centre and a Control Centre to deal with issues of security pertaining to the games.

Apart from providing security, the centers will also collect data which the local security forces will analyze after the games so as to learn and improve their services should the country host other major events in future.

He said a full security assessment of all areas to be used during the games, which includes the Games’ Village, venues as well as entertainment and business complexes around where the games will be centered will also be done.

While assuring the Chef de Missions that the country will do all possible to ensure their security, the Senior Assistant Commissioner informed the delegates that it will also be important for their delegations to ensure they do not necessarily expose themselves to danger and to take pre cautionary measures at all times during the games.

Apart from avoiding going into high risk areas, Letsholo advised all those coming to the games to walk in groups to minimize risks of being attacked as well as not to leave their valuables like monies, laptops and phones exposed.

The 2nd Africa Youth Games, which are expected to test the country’s security services capabilities to the limit will be hosted in Gaborone from 22 – 31 May next year. The games are expected to attract at least 2500 athletes and at least a further 1000 officials from 54 African Countries.

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