Tuesday March 20, 2018

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National Commissioner of Police and Higher Executive

Command of the Royal Swaziland Police Service

Chairpersons and Members of the Parliamentary Portfolio

Committees for the Prime Minister’s Office

Senior Police Officers and Senior Civilian Support Staff

The Media

Ladies and Gentlemen


It is an honour, as Minister responsible for the Royal Swaziland Police Service, and Head of Government, to be with you all today. I regret that, owing to other commitments, I will have to leave shortly, but I do appreciate the opportunity to address the gathering.

Reviewing the challenges faced over the previous twelve months, and the degree of success in dealing with them, is an essential process for any organization aspiring to high operational standards. The important corollary is then, of course, the agreement to resolutions for future improvement.   The fact that our Police holds a conference of this nature on an annual basis, as a matter of routine, reflects well on its culture of self-discipline and efficient organisation.

On the other hand the conference should never be allowed to become just a matter of routine, so to speak. It has to be utilized to its full potential. Whilst it is certainly just and fair to voice satisfaction when reflecting on the achievements of the year, it is also an indispensable forum for critical self-examination. And the more vigorous that introspection, the healthier the outcome. Regardless of past achievements, the process of continuing to set the bar higher each year is the most productive route to excellence. Which is precisely what the Swazi nation wants from its Police Service.

There have certainly been a number of significant changes and achievements in 2017. In the first instance, we thank His Majesty for his landmark pronouncement in which the Police College was upgraded to an Academy, equating it with other institutions of higher learning in the country. We also thank His Majesty for the highly motivating effect of the award of Service Medals in various categories. The upgrading of a number of positions at strategic, tactical and operational levels will also serve to recognize and reward the respective skills and experience demanded by those ranks.

Within the Performance Targeting and Appraisal Programme managed by the Policy and Programme Coordination Unit in my Office, the Police Service reports regularly – and I would add, very thoroughly – on performance against annual targets. It is reassuring to note that our main police stations continue to display performance against target. The time taken to respond to 999 calls is arguably the most prominent and important of the service targets. While the Police have performed reasonably well in this regard, the recent allocation of additional vehicles will undoubtedly improve the capability of meeting, within the prescribed time, the needs of emergencies in the public domain.    

The responsibilities of our Police Service are extensive and it is almost inevitable that the casual observer will often judge performance by the crime that is committed and publicised, rather than the extent of crime prevention which, by its nature, is rarely visible. But the fact that we, as a country, have a reputation, that exudes a high standard of public order and safety, says a great deal for the work of our Police, including its visibility efforts, public education initiatives and standard of public behavior.

We are, however, still seeing too many road accidents and weekly lists, of some length, of motorists arrested and fined for driving under the influence. That is not to blame our Police Service for those incidents. Not at all. But the fact that there are still many unroadworthy vehicles on the road, extensive reckless driving, and large numbers of people ignoring the perils of driving while under the influence, means that our Police Service must continuously increase its efforts. A survey of the behaviour among many motorists at urban traffic lights reveals a blatant disregard for obedience, or a sustained outbreak of colour-blindness.

At the same time, there must be close independent checking of Police behaviour at roadblocks and the like. The temptation to solicit or accept bribes must be eliminated. That can only be achieved by a combination of regular guidance and motivation sessions, and the deterrent effect of independent monitoring.

The theme of this year’s conference – Integrating Conventional and Contemporary Strategies to Turn the Tide against Emerging Crime and Road Traffic Accidents – appears to be well-conceived, to create the blending of tried and tested strategies with new ones that capture the modern approaches to crime prevention and detection.

Developing Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with the Federation of Swaziland Employers and Chamber of Commerce (FSE & CC) and the Federation of the Swaziland Business Community (FESBC) shows commendable initiative. The commitment to safeguarding the security of our business sector is a key element in enhancing the enterprise-friendliness of our economy and in turn encouraging new investment and faster economic growth.

With cross border crime showing no sign of abating, and being one of the more challenging areas of Police work, it is encouraging that MOUs have been signed with the South African and Mozambican Police Services to improve coordination and, in turn, regional safety and security.

One subject that I will continue to appeal about – and there can be no need to apologize for doing so – is gender based violence. It continues in our society to the extent that there appears to be an immoveable mindset among some members of the population that seems to condone it. I appeal, firstly, for it to stop and secondly for those who witness it never to sweep it under the carpet in the manner so often done.

Let me finally, and briefly, mention three items of so-called house-keeping where progress is being made but an extra effort is needed. The first is the Police Bill and I implore the respective section of Parliament to complete the processing of the Bill as a matter of urgency. The three Police stations – Manzini, Lobamba and Piggs Peak – have been refurbished and, when funds permit, more stations will receive the planned rehabilitation work. And it is also pleasing to note that the processes to set up the Security Forces and Services Compensation Special Fund are now at an advanced stage.

And, finally, may I encourage the Police Service to heighten the levels of security in the festive season and Incwala Ceremony, maintaining - as of the highest importance - the safety of our people and those who visit us.

I wish you analytical, and creatively self-appraising discussions at this conference and a successful 2018. It is now my honour, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, to declare the 2017 End of Year Conference officially opened.

Thank you.



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