POLICE in Matelile are strengthening collaboration with the local communities to help prevent crime and ensure that perpetrators of various crimes are swiftly arrested.
Following a series of crime awareness campaigns targeting 333 villages, police are optimistic that many people are beginning to understand the positive benefits of working with police to prevent crime. At least nine murder suspects were arrested in the last three months – with support from the local communities.
The suspects were nabbed in relation with the Famo-related murder cases that occurred from a period between January and August 2017. Police are also helping the communities to establish crime prevention networks to enhance sustained community policing initiatives.
Speaking during a crime prevention awareness campaign organized by the police at Maliepetsana village, the Officer Commanding Matelile, Senior Inspector Motsamai Kholumo said since they started working with local communities’ crime has significantly reduced.
“We appreciate the importance of partnering with the public because that is the only way we can get information that can lead us to arresting perpetrators. It is also an effective way to ensure we prevent crime,” Snr Insp Kholumo said.
When a crime happens, or is about to happen, there is always someone who is aware, Snr Insp Kholumo said.
“In most cases, a friend or relative may know criminal plots before they happen or they actually stay with the perpetrator and know where he or she hid stolen goods or a murder weapon. We would like to continue to encourage those who know something to work with us and help us to ensure a crime-free and peaceful Matelile,” he said, adding that the police were currently mobilizing people in illegal possession of arms to surrender them to the police, as one of the effective ways to prevent crimes such as murder and armed robbery.
In addition, he further explained, partnership with the local communities has also enabled the police to do more with little resources. He said with the help of the communities, they can easily get information that can help them to arrest perpetrators or botch planned criminal activities.
“Resources are not always enough, and that is why we thought it cost-effective to partner with the local communities to improve on what we can achieve with our limited resources. We could not afford to sit and be frustrated while criminals went on a rampage, we had to be innovative to ensure law and order,” Snr Insp Kholumo said.
He said only 26 police officers are tasked to serve 333 villages, which makes it challenging to conduct regular operations such as police visibility.
Despite a small team of police officers, in the third quarter of the year, police managed to make significant arrests in the 25 reported cases of crimes including murder, illegal possession of firearms and robbery.
Also present at the gathering was the Member of Parliament for Maliepetsana Constituency, Mr Mpalipali Molefe. He told the gathering to cooperate with the police to rid the area of crime, some of which have tarnished the image of the district.
“Following the many Famo-related killings reported in the last two years in the Mafeteng district, we should all know by now that crime does not pay but only causes pain. There are bitter consequences for those who choose to live by the gun and cause pain to innocent people. In this village, people must not live in fear, we need peace,” Mr Molefe said.
He said the presence of various stakeholders at the crime prevention awareness campaign in his constituency was evidence of how crime is a major headache for every advocate of peace.
“We are all here because we care, we are concerned about the Famo killings and other crimes. It is everyone’s duty to make sure that we stop crime through working with the police in making sure that those who commit crime are put in jail where they belong.”
He urged those involved in crime to repent and surrender themselves to the police while those hiding unlicensed guns to surrender them to the police.