2009-04-03 : Police Service in Crisis -- DA

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2009-04-03 : Police Service in Crisis -- DA

Postby GOSA » Wed, 2009-04-15 13:49


Cape Town - Key performance data demonstrate that in almost every area of
the SA Police Service, standards are slipping and efforts to combat crime
are becoming increasingly ineffective, the DA said on Thursday.

"Currently the South African Police Service (Saps) is in a state of crisis,"
Democratic Alliance spokesperson Dianne Kohler-Barnard told a media briefing
at Parliament.

At present, South Africans faced one of the highest crime rates in the
world, and many felt trapped inside their homes and suspicious of those in
their communities.

"We cannot build a united, prosperous nation while so many feel trapped in a
web of terror caused by crime," she said.

Outlining DA policy on the Saps, Kohler-Barnard said the ANC's "disastrous
cadre deployment policy", which had seen skilled security experts replaced
by political appointees, was at the heart of the problem.

"This has triggered a managerial crisis in the police service, which has
filtered down throughout the service to its most junior ranks."

The command structure had been left in tatters. The national police
commissioner had been placed on leave, two of the five deputy commissioner
posts were vacant, and at least two divisional commissioners were facing the
possibility of serious criminal charges being laid against them.

In addition, one critical divisional commissioner post remained vacant.

Safety and Security Minister Nathi Mthethwa's decision to release crime
statistics only on an annual basis should also be reversed.

Losing firearms

The DA would implement a real-time crime information system, available to
the public.

The disastrous Saps record on losing firearms had to be tackled immediately.

Since 2001, 14 117 weapons had been lost or stolen from police stations,
increasing by 165% from 943 in 2001/02 to 2 507 in 2008/09.

Most of these were now on the streets in the hands of criminals. In addition
to this, many thousands more weapons were lost by metro police and other
local government law enforcement officials.

It was likely that between 20 000 and 25 000 police and metro weapons had
been lost or stolen since 2000.

Yet the Saps continued to focus on legal firearm owners.

A DA government would ensure that officers were held to account when they
lost weapons, Kohler-Barnard said.

The continuous increase in missing police case dockets also had to be
resolved immediately.

The number of lost dockets had increased every year since 2003, and totalled
over 2 500 in that time period.

At present, only 6% of these incidents resulted in disciplinary procedures.

All officers should be held to account for negligence, and a new system
implemented that would see dockets regularly backed up electronically.

The bottleneck in forensic science laboratories, where over 20 000 samples
were currently backlogged, had a severe impact on conviction rates and
needed to be resolved.

Also needing attention was the serious staffing anomalies in the police.

The size of the police service should be increased to 250 000, and the
detective pool by 30 000.

Proper training had to be provided and key specialised units, such as the
narcotics bureau, family violence, child protection and sexual offences
units, and anti-hijacking unit, had to be reinstated, she said.

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