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Mmegi, Gaborone, 14 August 2009
Police merger causes crisis in Phikwe
By Onalenna Modikwa
SELEBI-PHIKWE: The merger of Local Police and Botswana Police has caused a crisis in Customary Courts in Selebi-Phikwe. So far, there are no officers to administer corporal punishment in the Customary Courts or to collect fines after the disbandment of the Local Police.
The merger has led to some Customary Courts being headed by constables. Of the 55 Local Police officers in the town, 43 have already joined the Botswana Police while 13 are under orientation to be absorbed in the Botswana Police. A law enforcement committee meeting in Selebi-Phikwe was told this week that civilians are not willing to be assigned to administer corporal punishment. It was said the civilians fear being attacked afterwards by the victims because they are not protected by the law like the police.
The meeting heard that civilians want to be paid for whipping convicts at the Customary Courts.
It was said that lack of whipping personnel at the courts will lead to convicts being sent to the already crowded jails.
Some people at the meeting asked if prison officials can be asked to administer corporal punishment in the meantime.
However, it was said that prison officials have their way of administering corporal punishment, which is different from Customary Courts.
Participants suggested to government to employ more Customary Court messengers who are authorized to administer corporal punishment.
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