The Deputy Commissioner of Police, Kenny Kapinga, says that the active involvement in jobs that were once the preserve of men by women police officers can go a long way in removing long held male stereotypes that exist within the police services.
Presiding at the first ever Botswana Women Police Network (BWPN) Annual General Conference, he commended women officers for the significant strides they displayed by engaging in female led operations to assist in achieving corporate targets to reduce crime.
The conference was held at the SSG Band Wing Hall and started last Friday, ending yesterday (Saturday).
The BPWN was formed in 2007 as the brainchild of the Southern African Chiefs of Police Cooperation Organisation (SARPCCO). The network was initialized at the May 2007 regional conference where women from SARPCCO agreed that there was need to establish a women’s network in order to mobilize women to collaborate on issues that affect them. It was launched in the same year as a sub committee of SARPCCO and further deals with women empowerment, advancement, advocacy, within Police services within the Southern Africa region.
Kapinga said the network has grown immensely.
“Since inception, the Botswana Women’s Police Network has grown by leaps and bounds. We have seen women police officers taking significant strides in both the operational and support environment by engaging in female led operations to assist in achieving corporate targets to reduce crime,” he said.
He said that the conference should provide a mutually respectful environment in which woman can critic their own performance, while receiving critical support from their peers too.
The Deputy Commissioner also said that the network was also essential in times when women coalitions are criticized in most circles for “allegedly being feminist movements”.
“I have no doubt therefore that through this conference you will be able to develop the required team spirit for the success of the Woman Police Network,” he said.
Kapinga also said that police experts contend that a certain number of females in any organization are necessary for the success of communicating policing goals, reducing police brutality and the better handling of crimes of domestic violence and sexual nature.
The woman police officers were also extolled for their demonstrating compassion through the involvement in social responsibility initiatives, and encouraged to affiliate their network with other women led organizations to help it realize its full potential.
Kapinga said the network should take strides and encourage women to join the police without fear.
The conference was meant to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and professionalism of the members of the women’s network, to enhance the resilience of members in facing policing challenges and to equip the members with requisite skills to enable them to run the network efficiently. Members were also updated on the progress of the network since its inception in 2007.
The BWPN was launched in February 2009 with a high hope of bridging margins in the work place and creating new perceptions of women in the police services.