let’s nip crime in the bud

Lesotho Times - - Leader -

LE­SOTHO is by-and-large a rel­a­tive haven in com­par­i­son to our crime-rid­den neigh­bour South Africa. Many Ba­sotho have found com­fort in the knowl­edge that they can go about their busi­ness with peace of mind with­out be­ing mugged in Le­sotho. This is un­like South Africa where it is pru­dent to al­ways look over one’s shoul­der, es­pe­cially if car­ry­ing valu­ables.

How­ever, re­cent events in the Moun­tain King­dom point to a dis­turb­ing trend in which crim­i­nal of­fences are be­ing com­mit­ted with im­punity. From mur­ders, hi­jack­ings, armed rob­beries and even cases of sus­pected ar­son, it seems some un­ruly el­e­ments are try­ing to catch up with the ig­no­ble ac­tiv­i­ties more syn­ony­mous with our gi­ant neigh­bour.

It is heart­en­ing that else­where in this edi­tion, Deputy Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice (DCP) Keketso Mon­a­heng has come out strongly to warn per­pe­tra­tors of the full might of the law that would soon de­scend on them for their das­tardly deeds. We couldn’t agree more with DCP Mon­a­heng. Le­sotho has enough chal­lenges al­ready, be it eco­nomic and political, to con­tend with a high crime rate.

How­ever, this is not the first time the po­lice have promised to deal de­ci­sively with crim­i­nal el­e­ments, and it’s un­likely to be the last. Be­yond em­phatic state­ments, what is now needed are con­crete plans and ac­tions to re-es­tab­lish peace and tran­quil­lity in the coun­try. It goes with­out say­ing that the ab­sence of those two com­po­nents would deal a mor­tal blow to the tourism sec­tor, let alone for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment.

A new tack in nip­ping crime in the bud is not just an ur­gent pri­or­ity, but es­sen­tial to en­sur­ing the coun­try’s sta­bil­ity. The most com­mon threads in th­ese in­ci­dents of crime are the famo turf wars and pol­i­tics, al­though other forms of delin­quency are also ris­ing. It, thus, does not re­quire a rocket sci­en­tist to see the need for the de­vel­op­ment and im­ple­men­ta­tion of an in­tel­li­gence-driven, in­te­grated and com­pre­hen­sive crime preven­tion strat­egy to en­sure the famo wars are not al­lowed to con­tinue wreak­ing havoc. Too many young and pro­duc­tive lives have been lost in this sense­less war and the po­lice need to em­ploy a new ap­proach to nip this men­ace in the bud.

Cases of shoot­ings re­main high be­cause, for so long, Ba­sotho have been able to ac­cess firearms smug­gled from South Africa through the por­ous bor­der. While the po­lice de­serve com­men­da­tion for go­ing af­ter peo­ple il­le­gally pos­sess­ing firearms, more needs to be done to en­sure guns are only in the hands of law-abid­ing and re­spon­si­ble cit­i­zens. A strat­egy to ad­dress sub­stance abuse is also in or­der since the scourge plays a sig­nif­i­cant role in the preva­lence of se­ri­ous and vi­o­lent crime in the coun­try.

On the political front, the po­lice can ill-af­ford to be per­ceived as bi­ased in favour of any political par­ties. The po­lice is a na­tional in­sti­tu­tion and a refuge of all this coun­try’s in­hab­i­tants re­gard­less of political per­sua­sion, and the LMPS needs to be seen as non­par­ti­san in the dis­charge of their du­ties. All cases of crime need to be in­ves­ti­gated to fi­nal­ity so that there is no per­cep­tion of favouritism.

To op­er­ate ef­fec­tively, the po­lice would also need to cre­ate for­mal and in­for­mal part­ner­ships with com­mu­ni­ties, busi­ness, labour, tra­di­tional au­thor­i­ties, the faith sec­tor and in­deed all sec­tors of so­ci­ety.

Only if the po­lice are per­ceived as pro­fes­sional can the var­i­ous sec­tors of so­ci­ety lend a hand and forge con­struc­tive bonds with the LMPS in erad­i­cat­ing the scourge of crime and build­ing a more pros­per­ous, safe and se­cure na­tion.

The LMPS also needs to be brought into the 21st cen­tury to keep up with crim­i­nals who are evolv­ing by the day. It might be an ex­pen­sive un­der­tak­ing, but it would be well worth the ef­fort con­sid­er­ing the num­ber of lives that have and con­tinue to be lost.

With the Easter hol­i­day upon us, it is also im­per­a­tive for the po­lice to in­crease vis­i­bil­ity with fo­cused pa­trolling of ur­ban cen­tres, vil­lages and high­ways in­formed by iden­ti­fied crime ten­den­cies and pat­terns. More im­por­tantly is the need for our law en­force­ment agency to re­spond promptly to calls for as­sis­tance as a de­ter­rent to would-be per­pe­tra­tors and to save the lives of vic­tims.

Here’s hop­ing we will all have a happy and crime­free Easter hol­i­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.