Tombo video cops still on suspension

10 August 2020 | Police

ELLANIE SMIT



WINDHOEK

Eight police officers who were suspended in April after forcing a man to swim in tombo at Eheke village near Ondangwa, as one policeman hurled insults at him, are still at home.

“Normally when a police officer is suspended, it is without pay. If they want their pay they must appeal to the safety and security ministry,” police chief Sebastian Ndeitunga said yesterday.

Police spokesperson, Deputy Commissioner Kauna Shikwambi, also confirmed that 2019/20 statistics indicate that 116 cases were registered against police officers, of which nine are finalised and 107 are before court. During the same period, 56 members were discharged while 41 were suspended.

“In most such cases, members were suspended, so as to allow for the conducting of unhindered investigations. For instance, regarding the video in which police officers were seen instructing a young man to roll in spilled traditional brew (tombo), while one of them was heard hurling insults at him, eight officers were suspended almost immediately and the due process of the law took [its] course. They are still on suspension,” Shikwambi said.

She was responding to a Namibian Sun editorial that addressed police brutality last week.

Not condoned

Regarding a recent video in which police officers are seen assaulting illegal immigrants, she said the same process applies.

“Acts of brutality and/or violence committed by police officers are not condoned at all. Those who contravene the regulations are dealt with accordingly.

“The unpleasant scenes of videos that have been circulating on social media, showing law enforcement officers assaulting members of the public, represent extreme ill-treatment, little or no respect for human dignity and therefore are condemned in the strongest terms possible,” Shikwambi said.

She said such conduct is not only unprofessional, but also outside the bounds of executing police duties.

Shikwambi said whenever allegations or complaints about the police or its activities are brought to their attention, they are addressed and investigated.

Not encouraged

“At no point are police officers encouraged to assault or brutalise members of the public. In fact, they are trained and encouraged to show empathy, respect and courtesy whenever they are dealing with the public and to serve the public with the highest level of professionalism, diligence and care, while being conscious of people’s human rights and fundamental freedoms,” Shikwambi said.

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