- Soldiers, secret agents join police on escort duty
- Former general is opposed to arming private security personnel
The Botswana Police Services (BPS) is beefing up security for cash-in-transit vehicles transporting funds over P1 million, the Director Crime Intelligence, Senior Assistant Commissioner Nnunu Lesetedi, has confirmed.
“Yes, it is true we have started escorting cash-in-transit vehicles but we cannot reveal details for security reasons,” Lesetedi told The Botswana Gazette in an interview this week.
Impeccable sources say armed police escourt squads combine with agents of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Service (DISS) and members of Botswana Defence Force (BDF) to protect cash-in-transit vehicles and their personnel.
“Members of the escorting teams are people who are highly skilled in use of fire arms. These heists have been a serious national concern,” said one source.
Although investigations are still ongoing, information reaching this publication is that former intelligence agents may be working with security guards to rob vehicles carrying cash. “We are dealing with criminals who are also highly knowledgeable in intelligence and surveillance,” said another source. “There is every possibility that people in the inside are involved.”
An employee hired as a security guard at G4S was arrested in connection with a heist that took place at Block 6 in Gaborone on 6 August 2021. A G4S vehicle carrying close to P9 million was robbed in the incident.
Meanwhile, while security companies have appealed to the government to allow their security guards to carry firearms on duty, General Puis Mokgware (rtd) says the private security sector has been seriously compromised and introduction of firearms would only make matters worse.
“If I am not mistaken, so far the country has lost 85 million pula to armed robberies,” Mokgware said. “We wonder if some of the robberies are really robberies. Imagine a robbery in a basement! It is clear that the problem is within and not outside. The private security sector has failed to regulate itself and introduce standards. In Botswana, anyone can form a security company and anyone can be employed as security personnel. We don’t even have the basic requirements. Vetting or profiling is not done.”
“The security personnel are underpaid with no risk allowance paid or insurance cover in most cases. In simple terms, they are very unhappy. It would be a serious mistake to arm private security personnel until the comapnies demonstrate that they are able to manage themselves. The government should review the licences of all the companies which have been affected by the robberies. Our intelligence has also failed us. One would expect them to be way ahead of the criminals.”