By Thuso Mosabala
The Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) together with the police component of the SADC Preventive Mission in Lesotho (SAPMIL) on Monday (June 18) launched a two-week crime intelligence training programme aimed to empower the country’s women and men-in-blue at the Police Training College (PTC).
Speaking at the launch, the SAPMIL Police Component’s deputy commissioner Joseph Shikongo, said the training would see 30 police officers enhanced in techniques to collect and analyse information, “and transforming such information into actionable operational crime intelligence.”
Deputy Commissioner Shikongo said it was within the SAPMIL mandate to retrain the country’s security sector as part of the broader reform agenda.
“We have noted that information sharing among all security agencies is of utmost importance as it creates a strong national security posture necessary for social, cultural and economic development of all Basotho people,” Shikongo said.
He added the training was fundamental to Lesotho’s security needs in order to bring about sustainable peace and security.
“SAPMIL will continue providing training especially in capacity building to ensure enhanced service delivery by LMPS to the general public. I therefore urge all participants to take this course seriously so that at the end, the knowledge gained will surely improve the overall performance of the Lesotho Mounted Police Service,” he concluded.
The deployment of SAPMIL is a decision of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Double Troika summit that followed assassination of the Lesotho Defence Force Commander, Lieutenant General Khoantle Motšomotšo on September 5, 2017 by his subordinates.
The mission was officially launched by the Representative of the Chairperson of Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, Admiral Gasper Rufino on December 2, 2017 in Maseru. It comprises 269 personnel: 207 Military personnel, 15 Intelligence officers, 24 Police officers and 12 Civilian experts in different fields.
The SAPMIL led training for Lesotho police comes amid frantic efforts by the LMPS authorities to transform the workforce in the wake of fierce scrutiny from opposition, civil society organisations and individuals for torturing suspects.
For his part, the LMPS Deputy Commissioner – Criminal Investigative Division, Paseka Mokete, put emphasis on the importance of intelligence gathering.
“It can hardly be denied that in order to tackle crime and its facets, intelligence gathering is very vital. It is axiomatic that effectiveness is largely based on crime information and crime intelligence. It is always said that ‘any organisation which operates without intelligence is like a man without ears and eyes,’ Mokete said.
He noted as police officers they competed with criminals over crime: “They (criminals) want to commit crimes on one hand while we want to prevent and reduce the commission of crimes on the other hand. Criminals meet, and strategise how to commit crimes. They take time to plan their activities, recruit informers, recruit participants in the crime as well as gathering information pertaining to the crime itself.”
The police, Deputy Commissioner Mokete noted, dealt with sophisticated criminals who took advantage of the advent of technology to commit crimes, “which makes it difficult to crack down their method or trace who they are.”
He observed some crimes were transnational in nature, “which involves organised syndicates. In order to clampdown these syndicates, police officers require effective intelligence gathering.”
In the recent efforts to change its image, the LMPS has partnered with National University of Lesotho in a landmark concept to establish Department of Counselling for Police that would serve as a training hub for the women and men-in-blue to up their professional behaviour, improve their investigative skills and mitigate brutality, among others.
Also, recently the LMPS launched a five-year International Youth Fellowship’s (IYF) mind education programme aimed to curb police brutality.
In the latter arrangement, the YMF, which originates from South Korea and aims at transforming youths, conducts one-hour mind education lectures every Wednesday at PTC to help the police to transform their behaviour.