Police get M150 million

By Mathabang Fobo MASERU — The government has allocated M150 million to the Lesotho Mounted Police Services (LMPS) for the construction of houses and refurbishment of police stations.

Finance Minister Timothy Thahane said the money would be used over a three-year period.

“Over the next three years M150 million will be billed to the police service,” Thahane said.

According to Thahane, the allocation was vital for the realisation of effective law and order, security and justice.

“The protection of assets of Basotho and foreigners are critical in the fight against poverty and loss of income,” Thahane said.

“Improving the effectiveness of our police service, therefore, remains critical if the economy is to grow and remain stable.”

According to Thahane, providing adequate facilities and equipment would ease the “burden of service delivery by the police”.

In August last year Lesotho’s police officers contemplated going on a national strike over poor salaries and working conditions.

Police officers complained that the government was turning a “blind eye” to their problems.

At that time sources in the police service said they feared that the government would not address their concerns “because our problems have not been addressed for years”.

To avert the strike Home Affairs Minister Lesao Lehohla promised that the government was working to address their grievances but there was need to find “long-lasting solutions to problems the police are facing”.

For the past seven years the police have been complaining about low salaries, meagre risk allowances, poor working conditions and the transfer policy which they say disrupts their family lives.

Some police officers live in dilapidated houses in various posts throughout the country “while others work in rundown offices”.

A 2005 Ombudsman’s report showed that at some police posts crime suspects are chained to chairs or tractor tyres while at other posts they are kept in dark, cold cells because the government has not provided suitable equipment”.

In some districts there are no police cells and the police detained suspects by tying them to vehicle tyres.

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