The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) notes the recently released quarterly crime statistics for the period between the 1st of July to the 30th of September 2021

It is under this period of review wherein our country was characterised by conditions of unrest, mainly in the Kwa Zulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces wherein the loss of lives and the looting and destruction of property was rife.

It is also noteworthy to consider that the very period coincided with the different lockdown levels that were steadily reduced from level four, three and then two, and with the gradual relaxation of these levels, it meant lesser restrictions and increased movement, leading to increases in some aspects of crime levels. 

With these lockdown relaxations, we have noted the increased murder rate of 20.7% with 6163 people killed in the country and a majority of these having taken place in both Kwa Zulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces.

We are, however, impressed by the decreases in murder rates at the stations based in Cape Town, which had for some time dominated headlines. This demonstrates that the continuous increase of the staff complement and tools of trade can in fact make a huge difference, and expect that this intervention should be applied across the board in ensuring our men and women in blue acquire added capacity in conducting their services. 

We further note that during the reported period, 23 recorded police deaths at the hands of criminals were captured, and are increasingly worried that during these quarterly statistical releases, there has not been any formulation of measures to curb this trend. It is expected that based on the previously released stats, there was supposed to look into urgent interventions addressing this trend.

Crime statistics should at all times be used as a tool to provide law enforcement officers with the sufficient data for use in determining budgetary formulations, planning, and the allocation of resources and police operations. The fact that we have been seeing minimal reductions of criminal activities over the past 5 years means that as much as the stated purposes of sharing statistics are clear, their outcomes have not been effectively implemented over the years, possibly due to numerous factors that include the budgetary constraints the SAPS finds itself. 

Issues of understaffing, the uneven allocation of resource, the shortages of ammunition and training have all been part of the underlying challenges faced.

It is for us vital that when addressing the rising crime statistics, we take a broad approach that considers the broad conditions faced by our populace, including the socio-economic implications we find ourselves. 

Issued by POPCRU on 19/11/2021

For more information contact Richard Mamabolo on 066 135 4349

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