As the festive season approaches, Rwanda National Police (RNP) has reassured continued security but urged members of the public to remain vigilant.
The Inspector General of Police, Emmanuel K. Gasana, said this during a periodic Police-Media interaction in Kigali on Wednesday, particularly highlighting the need to be on the lookout for any suspicious behaviour from strangers, and the parents’ role in protecting minors during the holiday season.
He urged the general public to enjoy the upcoming Christmas and New Year’s festivities in a peaceful manner so as not to disrupt the tranquility of others.
Gasana said that the safety, security and peace that people in Rwanda enjoy today will continue to be fostered in partnership with the general public.
“There are individuals that look at such festivities as an opportunity to engage in criminal acts like theft or taking advantage of unsuspecting people for their valuables,” IGP Gasana said, calling for continued vigilance and real time information sharing on any suspected wrongdoers.
He reminded parents to monitor and guide their children as they celebrate and prevent minors from engaging in malpractices such as abuse of alcoholic beverages and going to entertainment spots, which is prohibited by law.
“Security operations will continue to be conducted as usual and citizens are urged to be involved and continue working with the Police by reporting any suspicious behaviour that might need targeted checks,” the police chief added.
He advised people to enjoy responsibly during the festive season and avoid engaging in violence to ensure peaceful and crime-free holidays.
The Commissioner for Traffic and Road Safety Department, Commissioner of Police George Rumanzi, cautioned motorists against drunk-driving, speeding, recklessness and bad maneuvers, which are most common during the festive season, in many cases leading to fatal accidents.
He said that road fatalities reduced by 32 per cent in the last three months compared to the same period last year.
He attributed this to enhanced awareness on road safety as well as the introduction of speed governors in passenger service vehicles.
Internal security status
During the session, RNP also released a report on the state of internal security this year, that showed a reduction of 5.4 per cent from 17600 total crimes reported last year to about 16800 this year.
Presenting the report on the security situation, the Commissioner for CID, Assistant Commissioner of Police Jean Marie Vianney Twagirayezu, pointed out that most prevalent crimes committed include assault, rape, illicit drug-related crimes, defilement and petty theft.
ACP Twagirayezu attributed the slight decline of crimes to enhanced public-police engagement through community policing, and continued involvement of stakeholders in sensitising the public on crime prevention measures.
This year, the Police said, about 35 people were rescued from human traffickers while four other victims were repatriated from the countries where they had been trafficked.
Meanwhile, the Force said the capacity of its officers has significantly improved as various skills have been acquired to match modern-day policing demands.
The RNP spokesperson, ACP Theos Badege, noted that the police welfare has also continued to be improved, citing the recently inaugurated staff hostels that accommodate about 1500 officers, who were otherwise incurring costs in terms of rent and food.
Police appealed to the public to utilise the Police communication channels to report suspicious and illegal cases.
RNP currently has nine separate hotlines; maritime 110; gender based violence 3512; abuse by a police officer 3511; traffic accidents 113; emergency 112; fire brigade 111; anti-corruption 997; child help-line 116; and Isange 3029.
Clément Musangwabatware, the Deputy Ombudsman in charge of preventing and fighting corruption and other related offences, hailed the collaborative framework that exist between the police and other agencies in the area of fighting corruption.
Cleophas Barore, the chairperson of Rwanda Media Commission, urged media practitioners to avoid sensational reporting and seek to enhance their crime reporting skills.