Malawi Police Service (MPS) has singled out lack of capacity among
its investigative officers as limiting progress in the fight against wildlife crimes in the country.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Stain Chaima, who is also MPS Criminal Investigation Department head, was speaking yesterday when he opened a four-day Wildlife Crimes Investigations Training at Police Cottage in Mangochi District.
“Malawi remains a fertile nation for wildlife crimes as most traffickers use it as a transit. Lack of skills and coordination with the international police has in the past prevented police detectives to track down and apprehend human traffickers who ply their trade locally and internationally,” he said.
Chaima said most buyers of wildlife products are based abroad such that there is need to help police on how they can work with other international law enforcement agencies in combating wildlife crimes.
He, therefore, thanked Lilongwe Wildlife Trust for partnering the police in equipping the officers with investigative skills to combat wildlife crimes.
“Malawi can benefit a lot economically if crimes related to wildlife are controlled; hence, Lilongwe Wildlife Trust has shown that it is, indeed, a good partner,” he said.
In his remarks, one of the participating police officers from Ntcheu Police Station, Humphrey Katchuka, said the training had come at a right time when the government has put emphasis on promoting wildlife for social economic development.
Katchuka said police officers sometimes fail to classify wildlife crimes because of lack of knowledge; hence, the training will address that knowledge gap.
Malawi is home to the Big Five animal family comprising lions, leopards, rhinos, buffaloes and elephants, which are key tourists’ attractions.
In 2019 alone, about 1,000 people were arrested and tried in courts in connection to wildlife crimes.