Home affairs minister Albert Kawana said police officers are not permitted to “panel beat civilians” but “exercise minimum force or proportionate force per their training”.
Kawana also said officers who tarnish the force’s name should be relieved of the noble policing duties.
The minister also said there is a need to refine the promotion policy in the police force.
Kawana said this on Saturday during the commemoration of the 31st anniversary of the Namibia Police at Katima Mulilo.
Kawana said the police, just like all those who occupy public offices, should be servants of the people.
He further said that the police officers should serve the community to their best abilities.
“They must command the respect of the community. Against this background, they are expected to comply with the letter and spirit of the Namibian Constitution,” he said.
In addition, Kawana said the officers must promote fundamental human rights and freedoms.
“In this regard, they are not permitted to panel civilians. They are only allowed to exercise minimum force or proportionate as per their training. We will only succeed to fight crime if we have the confidence and trust of our nation and the community we serve,” the minister said.
Kawana, however, said it was disappointing that a few rotten apples are tarnishing the good name of the police force who involve themselves in criminal activities.
This is not only embarrassing, Kawana said, but it is also criminal and that such dishonest so-called police officers either shape up or ship out.
He said a few rotten apples should not tarnish the good name of the hard-working officers.
“They should be relieved from the noble police duties. Remember that you represent the nation and bear a National Flag on your shoulders.
“Logic tells us that you cannot be both a police officer and a criminal at the same time because logic will ask, who will do the arrest and who will be arrested,” he said.
According to Kawana, there was no coo[eration between the national police force, security companies and the municipal police forces of various towns.
“I must emphasise that these are very important stakeholders, which if utilised effectively, can become another multiplier in the quest to fight crime,” he said.
Kawana added that these stakeholders must know that the Namibian Police Force has the country’s overall mandate of safety and security.
“Nothing should suggest rivalry between them, rather than partners who ought to complement each other in the fight against crime,” he said.
The Police inspector-general Sebastian Ndeitunga said the Namibian Police Force has grown from 800 in 1990 to 14 800 currently.
At one time, Ndeitunga said, there were 18 000 police officers, but because of high turnover, the number went down.
Apart from the strength in numbers, Ndeitunga also said that the force had undertaken massive upgrades.
Ndeitunga counted 113 facilities countrywide, including the national headquarters in Khomas, six regional headquarters in Zambezi, Ohangwena, Oshana, Omusati, Oshikoto and Hardap.
The force, he said, has acquired a farm where they keep livestock exhibits and where the mounted unit is based.
According to Ndeitunga, four training colleges are Israel Iyambo in Khomas, Ruben Danger Ashipala in Oshana, Pius Joseph Kaundu in Omaheke and Simon Mutumba Mutumba in the Zambezi region.
“Per region, 11 facilities were constructed in the Zambezi, eight in Kavango East, eight in Kavango West, two in Oshikto, 11 in Ohangwena, five in Oshana, 12 in Omusati, nine in Kunene, 12 in Otjozondjupa, seven in Eronog, 11 in Khomas, six in Omaheke, six in Hardap and five in //Karas region,” he counted.
Ndeitunga said the force also acquired three helicopters and state of the art vessel, boats and rubber ducks.
Eight pilots were trained when the air wing directorate was created, while skippers were trained for the water wing division.