Botswana’s high peace credentials are under attack from growing crime, especially trade in illegal drugs. According to the Global Peace Index 2017, Botswana is ranked number 27 in the world out of 163 countries and second in Africa after Mauritius. Pressure has as such mounted on the Botswana Police Services to fight back by unleashing sophisticated systems to avert and contain crime. One such is the Dog /K-9 Unit, spearheaded by Crime Intelligence Directorate (CID) under the able leadership of Assistant Commissioner, Nunu Lesetedi. Lesetedi and the K-9 unit have instantly catapulted themselves into the most feared unit with their exploits well documented every national television news bulletin. Stealing the headlines has in particular been sniffer dog called Boots, also known as Julius, whose exploits have been more than daring in a spirited onslaught against drug-lords. Drug valued at thousands of Pula have so far been intercepted and suspects arrested and brought before the courts. This sterling performance by Boots and 41 other sniffer dogs have opened new chapter of hope that the drugs war can be won at some point. President Ian Khama recently donated food hampers to the Canine unit in Gaborone. The donation included Ecco Pet food donated by Botswana Meat Commission, 41 dog jackets sponsored by Lobatse Canvas, and Christmas hampers for officers within the dog unit. On top of that Boots received a special bed stretcher for being the leader of the pack in the campaign. It, however, does not end there. According to Police Spokesperson Dipheko Motube, the involvement of the Canine unit and the publicity thereof has also lead to an increase in tip-offs to the police from the general public. “The publicity we have so received has sparked interest from the public. It is evident that people are fed up with crime and seeing that the police are doing something about it motivates them to give tip offs. The media publicity is also on its own right, a deterrent to criminals,” said Motube. He said a rise in arrests made after tip offs subsequently means that serious crimes (violent and intrusive) which usually are a results of drug abuse such as assaults, murder, rape and house break-ins go down. “There is a considerable decrease in violent and intrusive crime as drugs and alcohol are usually the main catalyst of serious crimes such as rape and murder,” he said.
Motube said the police will continue to ‘step their foot down’ on each and every crime committed in Botswana no matter how small. The 60 days of action on crime and road safety campaign theme: Towards a Safe and Secure Festive Season, was launched on the 1st of November and will run until December 31. The main purpose of the campaign is to encourage the public to take appropriate measures to enhance their safety and security and hence pay attention to personal security, home security, personal valuable security and vehicle security among others. He said the police are well-intentioned and active in their efforts to prevent and combat crime and will be as visible as possible during the festive season. This, he said, will be facilitated by the ‘stop and search’ campaign, community policing through neighbourhood watches which have in the past proven to be effective. “We encourage Batswana to be as responsible as possible and act in a manner expected from a law abiding citizen,” he said. Motube also warned that usually during the festive season rape and crimes of passion are on the increase, urging people to act responsibly and that women should take extra caution when associating with strangers.