As the voice of Crime File – the popular police crime-prevention show hosted on Radio Botswana – his calm, soothing tones were a common sound in most households across the country.
Having joined the police in 1984, 55-year-old Dipheko Hansford Motube has been a loyal, proud, and of course loud, member of the force for most of his life.
The distinguished Senior Superintendent, who served in the Police Public Relations Unit for 29 tireless years, was recently promoted to the rank of Assistant Commissioner.
This week, Voice reporter Portia Ngwako Mlilo caught up with the Gabane-native to discuss his impressive career to date and to discover a bit more about the man behind the voice.
Q. What inspired you to join the Police?
I went to do my Tirelo Sechaba in Zwenshambe in 1983; it was quite an experience. Communication was very difficult as I did not understand Kalanga but I survived.
Each week I was attached to different departments until I went to work with police officers in the village Kgotla.
I developed an interest as we did patrols, riding bicycles in North East District.
I joined BPS on the 14-09-1984 as a constable. I was recruited based on my experience and height.
Q. What are some of the worst things you have seen in your time with the police?
Recovering a crying infant from a pit-larine at Somerset in Francistown.
It was very painful, more so that I only had five months in office from training and it was like my first real experience.
Other incidents include picking scattered body parts of dead people at accident scenes and recovering drowned people from dams. It comes with the job.
Q. How did you end up in the Public Relations Unit?
After training I went to work in Francistown. In 1987 I was told there was a radio course.
I did not know anything about radio production or journalism but I was nominated and went for three months training at Radio Botswana and passed.
I joined PRU in 1988 as part of the Crime File programme.
Q. You are the current Assistant Police Commissioner – what did it take to reach this point?
Hard work, dedication and persistence took me to where I am today.
I resigned from the BPS in 1990 to pursue studies at Molepolole College of Education and after three years I re-joined the police.
I am a true police officer – I really love my job. I am glad my bosses have always recognised my performance. I have worked as a police officer for 33 years now.
Q. What do you enjoy most about your job?
(Laughing) The police uniform – it makes me feel complete! It gives me dignity.
What I really enjoyed most was doing voice overs on radio and writing articles for our newsletter.
I like doing interviews, taking services to the people and putting the record straight, where the public do not understand.
Q. What is it that you want the public to appreciate about Botswana Police?
There are lots of myths levelled against BPS. Some think police officers are not honest, which is not true.
What I want people to appreciate is BPS is made up of people recruited from the society.
We are doing all we can to prioritise public safety and security at all times.
When we do our investigations, we leave no stone unturned – people should appreciate and understand that we need time to conduct our investigations.
Q. What about allegations that some traffic officers are corrupt and accept bribes?
What we are fighting for is our integrity. I cannot deny that because we have such cases but they are limited. I do not think we are as bad as police officers from other countries.
Q. What action is taken against such officers?
Nobody is above the law. Action is taken against such officers and if it means terminating their contract, it can happen.
They can be taken to court and proper procedures of the case are followed to find out if the suspect is guilty.
Q. Do we have a witness protection programme in Botswana?
We have it, though we do not have a specific unit. Once in a while you will hear that a source’s name has been revealed.
If there was no protection, it could be worse. We have a whistleblowing policy, which is crime intelligence.
Q. Don’t you think police officers should be treated for trauma and undergo counselling?
Back in the day there was no counselling – we believed that being a police officer proved you were ‘a real man’.
Now, we have Occupational Health Safety, Chaplaincy and Social Welfare Unit.
After attending road crashes and suicide scenes for example, officers from this unit do the counselling.
Q. Police partnerships and involvement of community through neighbourhood watch schemes, volunteers and cluster policing – are they helping in the fight against crime?
That is our backbone, our pillar of strength. It was established in 1984, after realising that there was a gap between police and community policing.
Every time we change strategies and initiatives because crime varies. Most of our success stories come from this partnership.
This really helps to reduce crime. People come up with ideas of fighting crimes in different areas.
It makes it easy to roll out public education programmes through these structures.
Q. Describe the Police’s working relationship with DISS?
I do not want to single out a certain department or organisation. What I can say is BPS works very well with other law enforcement agencies.
Pulling together is the key to success and they help us fight and stop crime.
Q. There have been several busts and arrests of drug dealers in and around Gaborone recently. What prompted the operation?
We realised the drugs situation was about to spiral out of control. It was not only drugs but crime in general.
This operation does not mean all along we were doing nothing. Publicity has helped because if you are doing something and people don’t see it they do not believe it, so we work with the media.
Q. What impact does the TV drama ‘Itshereletse Police’ have?
It is just like Crime File but we decided to visualise it. It is meant to sensitise the public on emerging crime trends.
It is doing public education in various ways and when you dramatize, you engage more with people – it is not easy for people to forget.
Q. So far, what can you say is your greatest achievement in this job?
Saving people’s lives and providing security to this nation. I am very proud that I had an input in securing the nation.
Personally, it’s the rank I acquired some weeks back – that is great. Doing Crime File made me famous and I am always recognised in the society, even when I am not wearing uniform.
My job has helped to mould me into a responsible person.
Q. What advice can you give to police officers and those aspiring to join the service?
What is important is to stay in one place and perform. Loyalty is ideal and it can help one to achieve more, unlike when changing jobs frequently.
For you to go far in the force you have to be disciplined and a hard worker.
You should also be passionate about your job to bring out results.
Q. Thank God it’s Friday. What are your plans for the weekend?
I will be spending time with my family.