- Tells Commissioner to jack up public safety
- Says President Masisi gave him the same message
- Notes smash and grab incidents, attacks on homes and businesses are denting police record
- Says he no longer wants to hear about road robberies
The Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Kagiso Mmusi, has issued a strong warning to the Commissioner of Police Keabetswe Makgophe and the top brass of Botswana Police Service (BPS) that their restraint in the face of rising crime in smash and grab incidents at street intersections and invasive attacks on homes and businesses has turned them into a laughing stock.
This happens against the background of BPS emerging highly-rated across the world and ranked No. 1 in Africa and 47 out of 127 countries in the World Internal Security and Police Index (WISPI) released by the Institute of Economic and Peace (IEP) in 2017.
In his strong warning, Minister Mmusi said rising criminal activities, especially where innocent citizens are brazenly dispossessed of their belongings at street intersections, in their homes and at businesses are a threat to police credibility. “We are turning into a laughing stock. Eyes are on us. Our streets are no longer safe because these criminals are roaming freely and terrorizing people.”
“I want to tell you here today that I no longer want to see or hear all these things and stories. I instruct you to do and use all in your power and all the ammunition in your possession to end this. We want a peaceful country where people are free,” he said to a thunderous applause from the senior police officers in attendance.
Mmusi continued: “I say this to you because I have already instructed your Commissioner because I was also instructed by the President. You must eliminate these criminals in whatever form you see fit. I want to convey this in the vernacular so that nobody turns and says he or she did not hear me clearly when I gave this instruction.”
In the police service, lethal force is generally used mostly in self-defence or in defence of others but the pronouncement of the minister could change this it clearly gives free reign to BPS.
His change of tone and tack follows a public outcry about terror on the street where pedestrians, commuters and motorists alike are at the mercy of marauding criminals.