Industrial Court Judge Memooda Ebrahim-Carstens, has urged women police officers to strive for a place in other areas of policing, like in the science of forensics and pathology, prosecution, international criminal and corporate law and advocacy.
“It is befitting that such an important regional conference is being hosted by the Botswana Police Service which has an increasing number of women police officers in its ranks, and, indeed, in its senior management team,” Ibrahim-Carstens said on Wednesday as she officiated at the first ever SARPCCO Women Police Networking conference held at the Gaborone Sun.
She pointed out that the advent of the police woman is a twentieth century phenomenon. Historically, she said, this was not seen as a career for women. Ebrahim-Carstens said that attitudes towards women police have changed and today women police offers can take an active part in every aspect of police life.
She told the police officers that, internationally, women police offers rely on a style of policing that uses less physical force, thus less likely to become involved in problems with the use of excessive force. She said it has also been demonstrated that women police officers are better at defusing and de-escalating potentially violent confrontations with citizens.
“They often possess better communication and persuasive skills, and are able to facilitate the cooperation and trust required to implement a community police model,” she said.
Women’s policing, she added, should not be relegated to the enforcement of the soft or sensitive arrears of law enforcement alone. She suggested that women police officers acquaint themselves with the laws, saying the law touches the lives of all women, not only those who work within the justice system. She said knowledge of the law is a valuable asset that allows women police to assist and inform fellow women, as well as to support female colleagues.
“The transition in the gender composition in the workplace has raised several issues such as discrimination, equality of opportunity and sexual harassment.”
Ebrahim-Carstens urged the Botswana Police service to consider the means of increasing the number of women in the force. She said they should also organize multi-level gender sensitivity training for all officers both men and women and urged the Botswana Police Service to ensure the provision of equal opportunity in recruitment, training and promotions.
“You should also ensure adequate grievance handling procedures to speedily resolve problems in the workplace. Peculiar difficulties faced by women in uniform in maintaining that fine balance between work and home should also be addressed,” she said, adding that cooperation between the Botswana Police Service has already borne fruit for Batswana.
“This could not been possible without the sacrifices made by men and women in the police service in the region and their respective governments.”