2006-09-27 : Huge rise in stolen firearms

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2006-09-27 : Huge rise in stolen firearms

Postby GOSA » Wed, 2006-10-04 07:58


Huge rise in stolen firearms

Wednesday September 27, 2006 13:58 - (SA)

The SA Police Service's firearm control registers are not properly maintained, and close to 2,300 firearms were either lost by or stolen from police officers over the past year, according to an Auditor-General report released today.

This is more than three times the number stolen or lost the year before. In his annual audit of the financial statements of the Department of Safety and Security up to March 31 this year, the AG also noted there was "inadequate monitoring and control" over the use of police vehicles.

This has resulted in vehicles not being available for police to respond to emergencies. Although the AG did not qualify his audit opinion, he emphasised several instances where lack of monitoring led to departmental policies, procedures and standing instructions not being followed at provincial level.

"There was inadequate monitoring and control over the use of vehicles after normal working hours, which resulted in vehicles not being available to respond to emergencies.

"Firearm control registers were not properly maintained, and weapons inspections were not performed at least twice a year.

"Departmental statistics revealed that 2,297 (735 in 2004/05) firearms were either lost, stolen or robbed from personnel."

The AG also highlighted problems with the SAPS dockets and case administration system.

"The lack of trained staff and a properly constituted management information system resulted in the inefficient management and control over the progress of investigations, and appropriate docket allocation to investigating officers at provincial and area level."

Further, the Forensic Science Laboratory was about 16 months behind schedule in developing a new system for evaluating forensic DNA evidence.

According to the AG, the SAPS also have major problems controlling the stock and equipment it uses. His report emphasises stock differences of R27.1 million between actual inventory - stored at national and provincial level - and the provisioning administration system (PAS).

This was based on test counts carried out at 18 inventory stores countrywide. The PAS also showed there were "excess inventories of R114.5 million", due to inaccurate needs analysis estimates. Stock disposals to the tune of R170.1 million were awaiting authorisation at year end. This was up from the previous (2004/05) year's figure of R112.9 million.

"Room inventory registers were not properly maintained in eight provinces. Handing over certificates were not completed when a change of command occurred, and there was a lack of segregation of duties over the custody and recordings of assets at a police station level," the AG said. His report also noted a lack of planned maintenance by another arm of government, the department of public works, which resulted in the carrying over of maintenance backlogs from prior financial years.

"I noted that in all provinces, numerous SAPS buildings were in a state of neglect and disrepair," the report said.

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