The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) has noted the latest quarterly crime statistics released by the Minister of Police Bheki Cele earlier today.
While noting that there are recorded reductions in some crime categories, including the murder rate by 3,1% and sexual offences by 2,1%, there has been an increase of 7% in the attempted murder category.
Most concerning is that the most reported cases of murder come from both Kwa Zulu-Natal’s Inanda and Umlazi police stations, while the other province with such high figures remains the Western Cape through the Delft, Gugulethu and Harare police stations.
Comparatively observing, these minimal reductions should be a concern to the South African Police Service (SAPS) since ideally, crime statistics are supposed to serve as a tool with which to provide our law enforcement agencies with data for use of determining budgetary formulations, planning and the allocation of resources and police operations.
The above points to the capacity of the SAPS, and puts to question the extent within which resources are channelled to stations in ensuring they are able to service communities. These unabated patterns are but a reflection of the deep-rooted capacity challenges faced by our police officers across different communities, wherein despite being aware of the crime conditions, are limited by the availability of resources to make any real interventions.
Inanda in Kwa Zulu-Natal is one such case, wherein there is only 1 police station servicing a population of just over 158 619 people, therefore making it difficult for law enforcement officers to be consistently available to address such crime challenges.
These incapacities include the uneven allocation of resources, poor working conditions and the shortages of ammunition and training among others.
It is always vital that when reflecting on the rising crime statistics, we not only blame it on police, but take a broad approach that considers the broader socio-economic conditions faced by the populace, including the implications thereof which lead to the conditions our law enforcement officers have to contend with, hence our call for an upcoming Policing Indaba to be held in the next week is aimed at addressing the escalating levels of violent crimes, abuse on women and children, drug trafficking, violent protests, the continued unabated police killings that have in recent times become prevalent across our communities among other issues. It is premised on the intensification and expansion of work that should be undertaken with various sectors of society, business and communities to prevent and combat crime, and requires the mobilisation of broader responsibility and a more proactive approach on crime prevention.
We further call for the criminal justice cluster to address its fragmented structures as it is currently operating in silos, with different departments operating differently while relying on each other’s inputs in conducting their mandated functions. There is a need to establish synergy between the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), the SAPS and the Judiciary, with the SAPS accounting for the arrests made, the Judiciary accounting for the number convictions and prosecutions, while the Department of Correctional Services accounts for the number of incarcerations. This will assist in determining consolidated future budgets that should bring about a correlated approach within the CJC instead of the current continued situation wherein every department works blindly, and in isolation of one another.
Issued by POPCRU on 18/08/2023
For more information contact Richard Mamabolo on 066 135 4349