Organizational change issues facing the Botswana Police Service

Lesedi Mashumba*School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia



The Botswana Police Service like many other police services in the world, is mandated with protecting life and property, maintaining security and public tranquility, repressing internal disturbances preventing and detecting crime, apprehending offenders, bringing offenders to justice, duly enforcing all written laws with which it is directly charged and generally maintain the peace[1].  Although Botswana enjoys relative peace and stability, escalating crime levels represent a serious concern for citizens and a challenge for the Botswana Police Service[2]. While the public expects the police to mount more efforts to fight this escalating crime problem, the police service still face numerous organizational challenges that that hinders its progress and cooperation from the public. This paper seeks to discuss various organizational issues that require a planned change process from the Botswana Police Service. Six issues were identified: a) the use of excessive force and torture, b) the lack of resources and expertise to fight cyber and computer related crimes, c) high levels of occupational stress among police officers, d) maltreatment of victims of crime by police officers, e) the under-representation of women in the police service, and, f) the ill-treatment of illegal migrants from Zimbabwe. All these issues have implications for community policing, and studies have revealed that there is generally a lack of confidence and limited trust on the police by the public, which stood at 44.3% in 2008 from the Afrobarometer[3]. In a nutshell, these indicates change in practices and conduct is necessary for the Botswana Police Service.

[1] The Botswana Police Act, Cap 21:01 at section 6 (1)

 [2] Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (BDHRL), (2001) Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, Available at:

 [3] African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (APCOF), (2012) Policing and Human Rights: Assessing Southern African Countries’ Compliance with the SARPCCO Code of Conduct for Polce Officials, African Minds: Capetown.



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