Scores of Botswana Police Service officers aged above 45 years are in a state of panic following reports that they will be forced out of uniform before the traditional retirement age of 65 as part of the police services’ restructuring exercise. In February, the Botswana Police Service circulated a savingram within its stations across the country advising police officers aged above 45 years to make copies of their identity cards and submit them to the police headquarters.
According to the savingram which has been passed to the Sunday Standard, those who are eligible to submit the copies of their identity cards are those who are turning 45 years this year and those who are already above the age in question. The deadline for the copies of identity cards to have been forwarded to the Botswana Police headquarters was 03 March. This has stoked speculation that Botswana Police Service intends to force out officers who are over 45 years and replace them with ‘young blood” in a move aimed at revamping the service.
“Officers above 45 years are becoming increasingly worried by talks that the service is planning to replace them with able bodied young men and women. Some of the officers have even hinted at resigning before they are sent packing,” said a source. While he declined to shed light on what motivated of the savingram, Botswana Police Service Christopher Mbulawa said it was not true that there are plans to force officers over 45 years of age into early retirement.
“That savingram was not for public consumption. Those are internal matters and we cannot discuss everything we do in public unless the issue is in the public interest,” he said. Mbulawa also said he was unaware of any attempts to restructure the Botswana Police Service. “We don’t have plans to restructure the Botswana Police Service or early retirement plan. If officers wanted to know why they were requested to make copies of their identity cards and forward them, they should have raised the issue with the station commanders or the Police Commissioner,” said Mbulawa. He said officers who are above the age of 45 have been with the Botswana Police Service for quite some time and they should know what procedures to follow.
“We cannot discuss administrative issues with the media or run the organisation through the press. The issue you raised is administrative and is not for public consumption, hence we cannot discuss it,” said Mbulawa.