By Staff Reporter
The Wanaheda Police Station has reportedly collected a total of N$123 500 between Friday and Saturday from motorists nabbed while driving under the influence, Khomas Regional Commander, Commissioner Joseph Shikongo has disclosed.
This comes as the police continue to battle the increasing incidences of drunken drivers in the city while Windhoek residents’ drinking habits have attracted the attention of the city police.
“We are up in arms. Yes the alcohol legal limit is 0.37 but now we are going to even arrest you as long as we see that you are impaired, you have alcohol. What they need to understand is that the legal limit is an alternative charge. The main charge is driving under the influence,” he said.
Early this year, the reports were that the courts were inundated with drunk driving cases which saw one woman being slapped with a 15-month jail term.
Two years ago, Police Deputy Commissioner Amalia Gawanas said those caught driving under the influence would no longer have the luxury of bail.
“As from now on, there will be no bail for you. You will sit for 48 hours and then you will go to court. Even if you are arrested today, you will sit first for 48 hours and then you will go to the magistrate’s court,” she said back then.
According to the Motor Vehicle Accident ( MVA), an endemic has gripped the nation with Namibia still occupying an inordinately high number on the list of countries with the highest number of road accidents due to drunken driving on the continent. MVA claims that the majority is working class young people who fall victim.
The City Police chief has vowed this time that measures to combat offenses would be stepped up.
“We can test by looking into your eyes, we can test where I can say point your nose then you end up touching your ears, we can say stand on one leg and with that we have enough evidence. Now we have changed the approach that we will go to the main charges,” said Kanime.
“Robbery is quite higher. Most people get robbed on the streets at night, it’s when they are going for drinking. House breaking, they steal in order to go and make money and go and drink. If you look into these robbers, once they rob follow them. The issue of rape, the issue of murder, alcohol has influence in all these types of crimes and it’s high time that they stop,” he said.
But for the past three years the police has not been making new recruits due to budget constraints.
Yet the commissioner is quite comfortable with the quality of policing as opposed to the number of officers that is required to do the job.
The force is being reduced of its number by natural deaths of officers, retirements, resignations for greener pastures and studies.
Groot Aub for instance needs 53 members but 12 are running the station.
“We will take out all our officers out of their offices during the weekends but we are calling upon is that discipline yourselves before we come,” said chief Kanime.
He also said, “Our streets are safe, it’s only those that are making themselves more vulnerable. All these phones that are being robbed, they are not kept by those people, they go and sell them to other people and I am also calling upon the public that once you buy a stolen item you will be in for it. But again why should you just always be threatened? But we are getting smarter and more aggressive”
The police have said they are still working on the issue of redeploying human resources from various areas.
Three years ago, The Namibian reported that “It was a revelation to the Swakopmund tourism fraternity recently that the town’s police force is operating at about 30% of capacity; meaning that out of every 100 officers there could be, only about 30 are manning the stations and patrolling the streets.
Swakopmund police station commander, inspector Moses Eibeb, was responding to complaints about the police force’s performance at a tourism development strategy meeting at the coastal town when he said this puts tremendous pressure on them all”.