Police reassure Basotho on crime


As police bosses outline prevention measures, successes and challenges


MASERU – Commissioner of Police Holomo Molibeli has said the law enforcement agency has moved on several quarters to augment safety and security measures in the country following a hike in criminal activity in recent months – all to ensure that citizens enjoy a peaceful life. Molibeli made this assurance this week while addressing the public at the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) head office in Maseru.

He emphasised the importance of a working relationship between the public and the media for tip-offs on crime to filter through to the police, during the address. Timeous reportage of such cases will enable the LMPS to mount immediate response measures, he said. Molibeli said he was impressed and proud of how the youth use social media to communicate legitimate tip-offs which end up being vital and helpful in police investigations. He called on them to continue using social media to build the country.

On the same issue, Molibeli reminded the nation that there is a Central Police telephone number that the public can call and report crime, that is 22 322 099, which whistleblowers can use called from anywhere in the country. Molibeli said LMPS is troubled by the rapidly increasing crime in the country, especially murder, robbery and stock-theft in which different types of unlicensed guns are used.

Molibeli pleaded with the public to work closely with the police to stop crime, indicating that the current level of crime cannot be contained by the LMPS with the help of community policing forums alone. The police boss further announced that the police have created a Cyber-Security Unit Department that commenced work on Monday, set up to monitor the use of social media – in line with current crime fighting trends in the world. Moreover, he said having a cyber-security unit will help with investigations on missing millions in this country, missing persons and death threats.

For his part, Senior Assistant Commissioner-SOU, Mahapela Loke, said the police have established the modus operandi in most reported robberies so they have begun patrolling around town day and night to ensure these incidents are curbed. Loke further indicated that their patrols will extend to beighbouring big villages from Ha Mabote to Ha Foso, where a mobile special operations unit has been assigned to control crime in those areas.

Senior Assistant Commissioner Moerane said they embarked on a stop and search operation initiative all over the country, where they will be searching cars, around villages – especially areas where there are usually large numbers of people, including clubs or bars, bus stops, community gatherings and even car washes. There are also raids for stock-theft and every police officer has been assigned to the street to search. He further stated that since last week they impounded several vehicles without number plates as criminals commit crimes using such cars. In addition, the police are assisting business owners on how to identify suspicious people and how to transport cash safely.

Over the past three months, there has been an increase in incidents where large groups of armed robbers are involved. Speculation is rife that serving and former police officers and soldiers are involved in recent robberies around the country. Police’ spokesperson, Senior Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli, told Public Eye in an earlier interview that police are still conducting investigations and as soon as they are done they will inform the public of their findings. All law-breakers will be punished accordingly if caught, he added.

Speaking on behalf of the army, Captain Sakeng Lekola, also told this paper they have never received report of members of the army involved in these robberies. Lekola added that the army will help the police fight crime in this country as per provisions of their mandate as contained in the LDF Act N0 4 of 1996 – Section 5 (c). The military captain also pleaded with the nation to always report crime so that action will be taken, because if not, the country will be more at risk of having dangerous criminal groups roaming across the country.

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