Divisional Commander (North) Assistant Commissioner Dinah Marathe has raised concern about the low turn-out of the business community at crime prevention meetings. Addressing the latter at a meeting which was also attended by senior police officers from Chobe and Ngamiland districts, Marathe pointed out that most often only junior members of staff are sent to attend such meetings even though they are not the right people when it comes to decision making.
She said the police exist to address the specific needs of all Batswana, the business community included adding it always becomes a problem intended beneficiaries don’t show up as they are always expected to make their contributions and recommendations. She said their wish as the police is to have easy access to both areas (Chobe and Ngamiland), and that this can only be achieved if they work alongside all of their stakeholders so that they may be furnished with feedback from time to time on whether their services benefit and serve the needs of the business sector.
“You need to understand that security of your facilities is key. You cannot be hundred percent safe, but our efforts should show that we are fighting crime together. Nevertheless I am happy that criminal activities in the tourism sector particularly are very minimal, and that there is nothing alarming in this area, save for just a few”, said Marathe.
Meanwhile some tour operators complained about incidents whereby criminals are prosecuted in the absence of victims. They said this is bad practice because conclusions are made without input of complainants. This was however refuted by Maun based Chief Prosecutions Counsel Constance Letswalo who said there is no way this can happen because supplementary evidence is always needed to guide court proceedings. She said the prosecution is troubled by some complainants who do not show up in court, citing various reasons and delaying cases in the process. She also suggested that video conferencing should be introduced in courts so that criminals can be prosecuted at any given time even if they don’t show up in court.
Vast as the district is, Letswalo noted that there are only four magistrates in Maun, and that the more than seven hundred and fifty cases per month are handled by a mere fifteen prosecutors. “I appeal to the police and other stakeholders to help where they can. Most criminals are nomadic and so it always becomes difficult to trace them. I suggest that you should get as much contacts and where possible follow them up on a regular basis because otherwise cases will continue to pile up as it is the case currently”.
For her part, Northern Divisional Commander (CID) Assistant Commissioner Oabitsa Rankwaila advised that business owners should refrain from employing old people as security guards because they are not only fairly illiterate but not well trained as well. She said some security guards are also hard core criminals or illegal immigrants, which therefore is important for employers to always make it a point that they fully know whom they are dealing with. “While we appreciate that they also have to work so that they may be able to fend for their families, you should at least make sure they do semi-training. Make sure that your records are maintained from time to time, failure at which employees might take advantage of your unawareness. You need to support us in crime prevention of your facilities because we don’t want to be made to live with blame worthy minds as if we are not doing our work accurately”.
On the issue of video conferencing, Marathe that they already have the facility in place as they have had people giving evidence while outside the country.