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Bheki Cele On SAPS Plan To Up The Ante In Fight Against Crime

Bheki Cele On SAPS Plan To Up The Ante In Fight Against Crime…  During that time SA was marred by more sexual violence, murders and assaults compared to the same time last year.

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Police minister Bheki Cele.

 

 

Presenting the figures in parliament,, Cele said contact crimes increased by 15%, which included murder (up by 22.2%) and sexual offences (up by 13.7%). Rape also increased by 13.7%.

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Cele asked during his presentation: “What went wrong?”

At a meeting with provincial police commissioners they agreed provinces, districts, clusters and police stations “need to do things differently if we want to see desired outcomes”.

This would start with minor to major changes, including improving work conditions of officers.

“Ensure the availability of the required tools of the trade to respond to crime and rooting out officers who choose to intentionally fail the communities they are meant to serve.”

There was a trust deficit in some community relationships, and 50% of the solution to crime was through better working relations with the community.

“Police officers cannot police communities they are not part of. But equally, we are aware that trust is not bought, trust is earned.”

To address this, he announced a new drive called the “station accountability plan” which would introduce accountability at station level to “address the dip in performance”.

It started from the top down. Commanders were expected to:

  • know their staff;
  • know the welfare of members;
  • take charge of their police station, keep track of the tools of the trade and maintain an overall healthy working environment;
  • lead, be firm and committed to serving and their members would follow suit; and
  • build and restore relations between organised community structures and the broader society they served.
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“It is a fact that the SAPS has thousands of hard-working and dedicated officers who daily put their lives at risk in the execution of their duties.

“Unfortunately, there are police officers who are failing communities. The failure often starts at police stations.”

The plan would ensure police stations were not scenes of secondary victimisation “by our own”.

There were now gender-based violence (GBV) desks at 1,154 police stations.

The desks would be staffed by GBV-trained officers as more than 90,000 officers had been trained in victim empowerment, domestic violence and sexual offences-related programmes.

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This would ensure a victim-centred service was provided.

The plan was expected to be implemented immediately and especially in the top 30 high crime stations.

Cape Town Central police station had the highest incidence of reported crime, with 2,653 reports in the first three months, an increase of 1,720 last year.

Second was Honeydew station in Gauteng with 2,149 reports and third, Durban Central with 2,037.

According to the new plan:

  • every two weeks, station commanders had to evaluate and put in place relevant operational plans to curb crime;
  • commanders must have in place monitoring mechanisms to sound the alarm in time, if necessary;
  • clear targets of crime reduction and eradication within time frames must be met;
  • commanders must work on weekends and police personnel should work on the street at weekends “as this is high noon of crime”;
  • there would be expeditious processes if and when set targets were not achieved. “It will not be tolerated for police stations to keep occupying the same spots as high crime stations”;
  • vetting and monitoring of members had to be speedily undertaken;
  • crime intelligence had to be beefed up at station level;
  • management of the SAPS had to take the welfare and safety of all members on board;
  • there would be interactions with communities on their safety concerns and policing needs through the ministerial imbizo programme; and
  • the process of repairing SAPS vehicles was being overhauled. “The police vans are usually out of action and waiting in long queues at garages to be maintained or fixed.”
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Cele said police had to rebuild relationships with communities.

“The SAPS cannot be a haven for criminals disguised as officers of the law. Service delivery in the context of this organisation can mean the difference between life and death.

“Interactions with communities on their safety concerns and policing needs, through the ministerial imbizo programme, continues to assist the SAPS in improving its services to communities.

“Without fail, the complaint about the slow response of police comes up far too often … It is the lived experience of community members who are far too often told there are no police vans to come and attend to their policing needs. The police vans are usually out of action.”

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Asked by the media if the plan indicated that police stations were not held accountable, Cele said accountability had always been there but “not sufficiently”.

“Most commanders are off on weekends, but if you check the crime pattern, this is when crime is up.”

A commander was like a parent and should know how officers were doing and where they were.

“Communities say they don’t even know who the station commanders are.”

 

 

Police minister Bheki Cele.

 

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