Police Brutality Not Allowed – Makgophe

| June 9, 2015

Police Commissioner, Mr Keabetswe Makgophe, says police officers are not above the law hence police brutality on suspects and members of the community is not accepted.

Responding to a comment from a member of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) recently, Mr Makgophe said as law a enforcement agency, they were tasked with the duty to protect lives and property, but not authorised to carry acts of brutality on their clients.

Mr Makgophe noted that though police were empowered to use limited force on violent suspects when making arrests, some officers sometimes went overboard as it was often difficult to measure such force.

He admitted that this excessive force at times ended in fatalities on the part of the suspect because the police officers would be trying to defend themselves especially when there is exchange of fire.

Like in any other case where excessive force is believed to have been used, the incident is investigated and appropriate action taken. He said Botswana Police Service had, where applicable, taken administrative actions against offending officers while others had been prosecuted. In some cases, some had been dismissed, he said.

Mr Makgophe, whose presentation had over the years, been getting positive approval from members of the PAC, further said the issue of observation of human rights is incorporated into police training course material and officers are constantly reminded of this important aspect during routine police lecturer sessions.

With regard to prosecution exhibits which go missing while in the custody of the police, he said this is one gap which needed to be guarded against as this does not fare well with his organisation.

He, however, said though incidents of missing exhibits were not very common, there was a need to see that this does not occur unnecessarily. Nevertheless, he blamed some missing exhibits on shortage of storage facilities because some police stations were built some time ago.

On other issues, he admitted that police service continue to lose skilled personal to other sectors of the economy and said at the moment there was nothing he could do except that he has written and made some proposals to government to rejuvenate the moral and improve conditions of service for police officers.

He nevertheless said he was optimistic that something positive would come out.

Among issues concerning the welfare of the police, he said chief among them was staff housing because it was common to find three officers sharing a three bed-roomed house, which he said was not a healthy situation.

In addition, he said they needed more funds for staff training as some courses offered were outside the country. The police also need transport as they cover vast and difficult terrain across the country.

In addition, he said there was still a need to build more police stations, but regretted that some of the planned police stations were put on hold because of lack of funds. Additional officers were also needed especially that people believe on the physical presence of officers in the street.

The police also needed more aanced technology, he said. Meanwhile, Mr Makgophe said there was no political interference in his line of duty, although he was accountable to political leadership of the country.

He also said the police was in a good working relation with other security organs as each one of them has a clear mandate to play.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: General

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