By Basadi Morokotso
Maun residents have been urged to be extra vigilant and always be on alert for suspicious people parading as tourists and with intention to perform robberies and other crimes this festive season. This was said by Commissioner of Police Keabetswe Makgophe when launching the sixty days of action on crime and road safety in Maun on Monday.
He said the November-December months are peak seasons in which tourists, amongst them criminals throng Maun which is known for great entertainment among other things.
The Police Commissioner also advised the business community to make it a point that they deposit their daily proceeds through banks without fail, to avoid carrying large deposits and running the risk of being robbed.
“All these are countrywide concerns but Maun is a special case because most crime incidents are carried out here. The festive season is a time during which crime and road traffic accidents generally go up. We have realized that as police we cannot prevent and detect crime alone, which therefore calls for community support in order to realize the desired impact on our public safety space”, he said.
One of his concerns, is the issue of drug and substance abuse by the youth. He said it is a well-known fact that drugs are expensive, and therefore wondered how the youth are able to finance their habit.
He said drug use is prevalent in Maun.
The launch, themed “Toward a safe and secure festive period”, was graced by various church denominations and a large number of people from Maun and surrounding villages.
Batawana Senior Chief Representative shared that as dikgosi, they are mostly worried by the numerous bail-outs issued by Magistrate courts, which he said are the reason behind repeat offences. He was of the view that murder suspects should not be given bail, particularly in incidents where there is enough evidence. He said such people deserve to be hanged right away because they are a threat to society and to themselves.
“Response time by police officers is also a course for concern. I have personally made enquiries as to why this is the case, and the answer has always been that there is shortage of vehicles. I plead with you Commissioner to please avail vehicles to your officers so that they may be able to carry out their mandate of safeguarding communities”, said Kgosi Letsholathebe.
In response, Makgophe stated that he will try everything possible to avail vehicles at least by the end of November. Vehicles, he said, are never enough.
On the issuance of bail outs by courts, he said it is something they cannot dictate as Botswana Police Services because the law allows that arrangement.
He pointed out that in a democracy as that practiced in Botswana everyone including criminals is entitled to a hearing based on the conditions of such bails.
However he said the sad part is when such people abuse their freedom and commit even more offences. He also urged motorists to be extra careful during the festive season, considering that since January to date, the district has already recorded a total of twenty two fatalities as compared to the nineteen recorded this time last year. In total, three hundred and sixty seven (367) deaths associated to road traffic accidents have been recorded countrywide from January to date.