Botswana Police Service Public Relations Unit (PRU) this week held a meeting with local journalists where they discussed various ways they could improve their working relationships.
In his address, South Central Divisional Commander, Senior Assistant Commissioner Foreman Baganetswe said cooperation between the police and journalists was vital in the fight against crime.
He said the police’s main task was to provide protection for the nation while the media have a duty to keep the nation informed, hence the need to marry the operations of the two entities.
Baganetswe said the police and the media needed each other on a daily basis in order for them to perform their duties.
He further appealed to station commanders to engage the media and give them the information they needed as part of communicating with members of the public, but cautioned them to be careful at all times when releasing such information.
He said it was important for station commanders to build trust with the media, but cautioned station commanders to desist from revealing information to journalists on off record basis.
“I would not encourage that kind of a relationship because you can never truly trust another person to that extent lest you risk jeopardizing your own investigations,” he advised.
Journalists also appreciated the purpose of the meeting and had a chance to air the concerns regarding the challenges they face when dealing with the police officers.
“Some of the station commanders have a tendency of giving preference to television and radio media where they know they’ll be able to listen of watch themselves but we’re all media and we need to be treated equally,” Victor Muyakwabo of Mmegi said.
Head of the police public relations unit, Assistant Commissioner Christopher Mbulawa explained that in most cases, journalists called his office looking for information concerning a certain crime which would have happened overnight and the case not yet reported to his office.
He also advised against the habit of phoning the station commanders at odd hours looking for information which he said was unfair on the officers.