Over 4 300 unsolved police cases

Albert Kawana

Home affairs, immigration, safety and security minister Albert Kawana says 4 377 cases are still under investigation by the Namibian Police nationwide due to a lack of resources and manpower.

Kawana, speaking at parliament on Friday, cited a lack of financial resources, manpower shortages and logistical challenges as the primary reasons for the delays in solving cases.

Kawana said Khomas has the highest number of unsolved cases, totaling 2 736, followed by Oshana with 319, Otjozondjupa with 221, Ohangwena with 210, Oshikoto with 148, Kavango East with 132, Omusati with 128, Hardap with 109, Omaheke with 92, //Kharas with 74, Erongo with 70, Kunene with 57, Zambezi with 44 and Kavango West with 36.

“Some cases are delayed due to the fact that some forensic results are sent to internationally certified laboratories outside Namibia, including overseas countries,” Kawana said.

Kawana added that investigators undergo specialised training in areas including domestic violence, financial crime and human trafficking.

However, a significant challenge arises as qualified investigators are often poached from the police.

“Unfortunately, qualified investigators do not stay long in the police due to poaching, especially by financial institutions such as insurance companies and banks. As a result, lack of skills negatively impacts efficiency in service delivery,” Kawana said.

He added that the exodus of skilled personnel leads to a lack of expertise within the police, consequently hampering efficiency in service delivery.

Kawana said the repercussions are manifold, resulting in delays in investigations, increased workloads, cases being struck from court rolls, inadequate communication with victims or complainants, and a surge in the court backlog, ultimately burdening the justice system.

The ministry aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of police investigations by introducing a range of measures.

These measures include police recruitments, rigorous supervision, monitoring and control of court dockets, general case docket inspections and operations, the introduction of scientific investigation techniques, and the implementation of complementary incentives such as team-building activities and awards.

“We hope that with the training of police officers which started last year, this unacceptable situation will improve once trainees graduate in May this year before the next intake is taken onboard,” Kawana said.
Popular Democratic Movement parliamentarian Reggie Diergaardt last month raised concern over prolonged police investigations.

“There are so many complaints from different people in different towns about the constant delay in police investigations at various police stations,” Diergaardt said.

He added that the police play a crucial role in safeguarding citizens’ safety and it is important that they resolve cases brought to them in a timely manner.

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