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23 febrero 2015

Namibian President launches national INTERPOL Turn Back Crime campaign

OSHAKATI, Namibia ‒ Highlighting the important role citizens can play in helping police turn back crime, Namibia’s President Hifikepunye Pohamba launched his country’s Turn Back Crime campaign at the Oshakati Independence Stadium as part of the Namibian Police Force’s 24th anniversary.

With the Namibian Police Force having evolved into a strong organization in just over two decades, the event included the graduation of almost 2,000 young police officers, parades and a review of the force’s modern equipment and fleet of vehicles.

Turn Back Crime balloons were also released by local children to show their determination to stay safe and away from crime.

Expressing strong support for the campaign, Police Inspector General Sebastian Ndeitunga, who was recently appointed Vice President for Africa on INTERPOL’s Executive Committee, told thousands in the audience that the Turn Back Crime campaign will help Namibian citizens understand what they can do to protect themselves and their families from crime.

Leading by example

During the ceremony, four Goodwill Ambassadors were appointed by Police Inspector General Ndeitunga to support Namibia’s Turn Back Crime campaign: track and field Olympic medalist Frank Fredericks; Namibian Broadcasting Corporation Director General, Albertus Aochamub; Namibian Kwaito musician Martin Morocky known as ‘The Dogg’; and businesswoman Maria Kapia.

“These campaign ambassadors are known for their commitment, talent and determination. As role models for the Namibian people they will have a key part to play in propelling the campaign forward and raising the public’s awareness about how to stay safe from crime,” said the Head of Namibia’s INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB),Immanuel Sam. The NCB will be coordinating the campaign’s national implementation and ensuring it is embedded in community policing activities of the Namibian Police Force.

Turning back crime in Namibia

Speaking at the campaign launch ceremony, the Head of INTERPOL’s Trafficking in Illicit Goods and Counterfeiting programme, Michael Ellis, said that one of the key aspects of the campaign is to raise public awareness of the dangers of buying counterfeit goods.

“Criminals only care about profits, not about the devastating effects their fake products can have on your businesses, health and indeed, lives. This campaign is about helping each one of you here understand how to stay safe, healthy, and to turn back these crimes,” said Mr Ellis.

Under the leadership of Police Inspector General Ndeitunga, the Turn Back Crime campaign has already served to boost Namibian security through several police operations coordinated by Namibia’s Police Force and INTERPOL’s Trafficking in Illicit Goods and Counterfeiting unit under the campaign banner.

Operation ‘Wipeout’ in summer 2014 resulted in hundreds of thousands of goods being seized and hundreds of suspects arrested. Just months earlier, Operation Etosha resulted in the seizure in Namibia of thousands of counterfeit items including clothing, perfume, alcohol, cigarettes, mobile telephones and toys. A machine used to erase and change the expiration date on food containers, which could lead unsuspecting members of the public to unknowingly consume potentially dangerous products, was also recovered.

Namibia’s launch comes just weeks after Police Inspector General Ndeitunga met with his regional counterparts in Johannesburg to launch Turn Back Crime regionally, under the banner of SARPCCO, the Southern African Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation.

Namibia is the third SARPCCO country to launch Turn Back Crime, after Tanzania and South Africa. The campaign has also been launched in Rwanda, Algeria and Nigeria.