By: Hertha Ekandjo
Law enforcement requires well-trained officials who should have investigative skills, skills in scene crime management as well as presenting evidence before the courts to achieve positive prosecution.
These were the words of environment, forestry and tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta during the official appointment of forestry peace officers in Windhoek on Thursday.
“Without prosecution, your law enforcement efforts will remain fruitless. I am acutely aware of the increasing threats you face in your job, but we will continue to support you to execute the tasks that you have been entrusted with successfully,” he said.
Shifeta said that he did not doubt that the newly appointed officers would deliver on their mandate, having acquired all the necessary and relevant knowledge required to perform their duties.
Furthermore, he noted that the ministry needed to improve its integration so that officials could prevent crime and enforce multiple laws to tackle challenges such as poaching, illegal timber harvesting, pollution and trade in protected species.
He added that out of 28 participants, 23 completed the training, and there was no doubt this was a testimony to their hard work, commitment, dedication and discipline.
According to the minister, the ministry remained committed to ensuring the well-being of the country`s citizens through the sustainable use of natural resources.
“We are committed to creating opportunities in all spheres of development, be it mining, resilient climate agriculture, timber harvesting, charcoal production, wildlife utilisation, and value addition to our indigenous plants and natural resources. However, this must be done based on the principles of sustainability, application of science and regulated accordingly,” he noted.
Shifeta emphasised that the key to building on these opportunities and tackling their challenges was to have a dedicated and well-trained workforce. “A workforce working to prevent unsustainable and illegal resource use which further drives environmental degradation and the disenfranchisement of our people”.
He noted that if they do not safeguard the natural resources, there will be nothing left for future generations, and they will be answerable to the future generations.
Moreover, Shifeta said Namibia was a vast country. Thus they needed the eyes and ears of the local communities to ensure effective law enforcement regarding environmental crimes.
The minister said that Forestry Peace Officers had completed their training via Namibian Police (NAMPOL) training experts in Windhoek on two occasions in 2021 and 2022.
“It is pleasing to note that the training followed an integrated approach covering different legislation, including the Forest Act, Act 12 of 2001 and its Regulations, Nature Conservation Ordinance of 1975, Environmental Management Act, Act 7 of 2007, as well as the Criminal Procedure Act, Act 25 of 2004,” said Shifeta.