Grounded vehicles hamper police operations

• BY MARX ITAMALO

POLICE sources in Oshana say lack of vehicles in the region is hindering police operations and the force no longer responds swiftly to emergencies due to this challenge.

Several police officers who spoke to Confidente this week said vehicles were chiefly grounded following accidents in which they were involved in. Others were grounded due to mechanical problems.

“As we speak there are about 30 vehicles grounded in the region. Most are parked at Oshana headquarters while some can be found at stations at Ondangwa and Ongwediva,” says a police source stationed at Ondangwa. According to him, it has become common occurrence for police vehicles to get involved in accidents and they stay for up to three years without any repairs done.

“Nothing has been done about them so far and the authorities know about it.”

Another police source at Oshakati confirmed this. According to him, several vehicles that were involved in accidents are parked behind the police morgue. “I don’t know why government is not repairing these vehicles so that they can solve the problem of lack of vehicles currently plaguing the region,” he raised his concern.

This particular officer said occasions when the police are called to attend to crime scenes; they often failed to go due to lack of vehicles.

“I remember last month we had a case at Evululuko location where robbers broke into a shebeen and we were informed they were busy breaking into gambling machines but officers only got there an hour later as there was no vehicle at the station. Ongwediva was called but they too could not help in time as two of their vehicles were attending to another crime at Onamutayi,” he said adding by the time the police arrived at the scene the thieves had already left with the loot.

There have been allegations from members of the public about the manner in which police officers drive government cars. Some accuse them of driving recklessly without any care as they do not get penalised when police vehicles get involved in accidents.

In October, Oshana police commander commissioner Rauha Amwele informed Inspector General of the Namibian police Sebastian Ndeitunga during the official opening of the Oshana police fuel station at Oshakati and the newly constructed police station at Ongwediva that roughly 25 police vehicle were grounded and that the region was in dire need of vehicles to address the operational needs of the police. She also said at the time lack of resources beset the regional police and that force members make contributions to buy stationery to keep police stations running.

On Tuesday Amwele confirmed to Confidente about the lack of vehicles and how it is jeopardising police work. However, she refused to delve more on the matter.

“The best person to ask those questions is the Inspector General. Ask him what his office is planning to do with those vehicles in particular and the whole situation in general,” she stressed.

Ndeitunga was unreachable on his mobile phone when called with an aide who answered his phone saying: “General is in a meeting. He will call you back.”