MASERU – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) this week handed over community policing Information and Communications Technology (ICT) equipment to the Lesotho Mounted Police Services (LMPS) at its headquarters in Maseru. The equipment consists of servers, switch, laptops, rooters, a fan, panels and panels. This is part of the UNDP-backed Lehokela initiative, a digital solution platform intended to assist communities and the LMPS to easily navigate observed conflicts and criminal incidents within communities and to report such in real-time to community structures and the police.
Speaking on behalf of the police, Senior Assistant Commissioner Ezekiel Senti, said the project was piloted at Tšakholo in the Mafeteng district and that the use of this modern communication technology equipment will be of great assistance in fighting and reducing crime. Senti indicated that community policing committees had already been trained on how to use mobile phones to report criminal acts in their respective neighbourhoods. He said the project rollout will cover the breadth of the country targeting identified hotspots with the most crimes. This, he added, will ensure the timeous reporting of crime and swift response from the police.
“Law enforcement agencies should not be caught napping, but should be on top of their game. Cyber-crime and other emerging national crimes such as human trafficking require us to capacitate our enforcement agencies so that they can deal with these challenges,” he continued. Since the equipment uses cell phones, he said, it will be easier for community policing networks to work with the LMPS departments whenever they see any criminal activity. He expressed gratitude to UNDP for this donation.
UNDP representative, Nessie Golakai Gold, said the mapping was done in Mafeteng and the solutions were identified to assist community policing (Mahokela) in fighting crime through smooth communication with police and for storage of criminal records data from the community policing.
The digital platform, Lehokela App, uses free telephone line. The community policing ICT equipment cost M558 214.60. In an endeavour to enhance the good work of community policing groups the Chinese embassy in 2018 handed over donations that included a cheque worth over M100 000 for a green house project at the Police Training College, as well as community policing kits which entails blankets, gumboots and torches to the police ministry.
Appreciating the Chinese assistance, Commissioner Molibeli expressed heartfelt gratitude to the for the community policing kit, saying they were bound to go a long way in inspiring the community policing committees in their efforts to fight crime in their areas. The community policing strategy was piloted by the LMPS in 2001 in select areas, targeting crimes such as stock- theft, house-breaking and theft, assault and murder. It seeks to improve the law-enforcement agency’s crime-prevention strategy and also ensure the successful investigation of crime.