Botswana Police Service

There are two main police forces in Botswana, the Botswana Police Force established under the Botswana Police Act of 1987 and the Local Police established under the Local Police Act. The Botswana Police Force, which used to operate under the Ministry of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration now operates under the Ministry of Justice, Defence and Security whilst the Local Police falls under the Ministry of Local Government. The Local Police works in the rural areas and in close contact with the customary courts. The Police Force is led by a Commissioner assisted by two deputy Commissioners who oversee operational activities and support services. The departments, which make up the force include:

  • Forensic Science Services;
  • Criminal Intelligence Bureau;
  • Training;
  • Traffic Control;
  • Transport and Telecommunications;
  • North, South, Central and Gaborone Divisions;
  • Special Support;
  • Diamond and Narcotics Squad;
  • Serious Crime Squad;
  • Criminal Record Bureau; and
  • Crime Prevention Coordination Unit.

Oversight Mechanisms

The Botswana Police Act of 1987 provides for disciplinary procedures and makes provision for a Police Council to receive complaints made against the police. The Ombudsman Act of 1995 establishes the Office of the Ombudsman who is tasked with investigating complaints of injustice or maladministration in the Public Service. In addition the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) also receives complaints, which the police do not deal with adequately. Civil society organizations such as Ditswanelo and the Centre for Human Rights play a key role in addressing human rights issues.

  1. African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (2008) An Audit of Police Oversight in Africa: Botswana, p.11.
  2. Interpol Connecting Police for A Safer World. Country Profile: Botswana. Available at – Botswana Police Service. < Accessed on 30 March 2016>.
  3. African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (2008) An Audit of Police Oversight in Africa: Botswana, p.11.<
Country Category Year Title URL
Botswana General 2015 Botswana Freedom in the World Report Source
Botswana General 2015 Freedom House Botswana Country Report Source
Botswana General 2014 Botswana 2014 Human Rights Report Source (PDF)
Botswana News Story 2014 Botswana cowed by Big Brother’s rule of fear Source