Police have crime under control - Phiyega

SEPTEMBER 22, 2014

While challenges with certain categories of crime such as murder and sexual offences remain, South Africa’s police have a firm handle on crime, says National Police Commissioner General Riah Phiyega.

“Police are in control. The fact that we arrested 1.7 million people in the past year alone says a lot. Policing is a highly controlled environment with clear standing orders.

“Yes mistakes are made but they tend to be the ones that are flagged by the media,” Phiyega said on Monday.

She was reacting to criticism that police have lost the war on crime during The New Age business briefing on Monday. This follows the release of 2013/14 crime stats on Friday.

The statistics, which cover the period from 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2014, showed that murder is up by 5%, with an additional 809 murders.

The Western Cape showed the highest increase in murder by 12.8%, from 2 580 in 2012/13 to 2 909 in 2013/14.

It is followed by Gauteng by 11.2%, from 2 997 in 2012/13 to 3 333 in 2013/14.

The third highest province in cases of murder was the Northern Cape with a record of 6.3%, from 412 in 2012/13 to 438 in 2013/14.

The stats also showed that sexual offences have decreased by 5.6% from 2012/13 to 2013/14.

The decrease was recorded in all nine provinces, with the North West leading with a 12.2% decrease, from 5 521 in 2012/13 to 4 850 in 2013/14.

Gauteng showed a decrease of 10.3% from 12 288 in 2012/13 to 11 021 in 2013/14, followed by Free State with 8.3% from 5 252 in 2012/13 to 4 814 in 2013/14.

In addition, home robbery is up 7.4%, with 1 334 more cases than the previous year.

Business robbery is up by 13.7% with 2 238 more attacks, and car hijacking is up by 12.3% with 1 231 more attacks than the previous year.

Theft of motor vehicles and motor cycles in KwaZulu-Natal have decreased by 10.9%, from 9 788 in 2012/13 as compared to 8 723 in 2013/14.

SA is stable

Phiyega said the fact that the country has investors wanting to bring business to the country shows that South Africa is stable.

“They know this a stable country with order, and law enforcement agencies are doing their work,” said Phiyega, who was flanked by Police Minister Nathi Nhleko and his deputy Maggie Sotyu.

Phiyega said the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) investigates all police transgressions and that SAPS management accounts to the reports from IPID.

“[Fighting] crime is our business. It doesn't matter where it is, we will arrest a criminal. We will arrest our own if necessary,” she said.

“We are being held accountable. That is why we are subjected to scrutiny,” said Minister Nhleko, adding that there must be a balanced criticism of the police.

While welcoming criticism, Phiyega said society should not make it impossible for police to do their work. She called on the public to partner with the police in the fight against crime.

Deputy Minister Sotyu said they have forged strong community policing forums. However, she said urged communities to be more forthcoming with information.

“Somewhere, someone knows something about crime in their communities and acting on such knowledge is pivotal for our success,” said Deputy Minister Sotyu.

Minister Nhleko also reiterated this, saying the issue of community partnerships is key in fighting crime.

“Even the National Development Plan talks to this. The NDP envisages a state where police work closely with communities to ensure that the root causes of crime are addressed,” the Minister said.

The NDP calls for the police to be professionalised and supported by a multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary National Policing Board to guide a process of transformation.

It also requires senior police managers to be assessed against clear standards to determine whether they have the expertise, skills and integrity required for the posts they hold.

Minister Nhleko has indicated that the recommendations contained in the NDP, which was adopted by Cabinet in 2012, need to be implemented.

This has been welcomed by crime and safely analysts, who agree that this process would boost the confidence of senior managers and also give rise to a new and dynamic team of senior SAPS managers, whose expertise, performance and integrity is beyond reproach.

Minister Nhleko dismissed suggestions that South Africa is war zone.

“We are faced with a particular social problem… We have high levels of violence and aggression in our society and we need to address that,” he said.

“These numbers must be studied to look at the social phenomena and establish trends.”

Deputy Minister Sotyu said alcohol is a major contributor to murder stats. With the levels of poverty and unemployment being so high, crime statistics are bound to rise, she said,

Meanwhile, Phiyega announced that they will be launching the festive season campaign much earlier this year.

This is due to the spate of mall robberies in recent weeks. – SAnews.gov.za

Photo caption: POLICE HAVE CRIME UNDER CONTROL... National Police Commissioner General Riah Phiyega. Image; destinyconnect.com