Police Minister Fikile Mbalula says the release of the annual crime statistics must lead to efforts that will make a dent on crime.
Briefing journalists after releasing the 2016/ 17 crime statistics on Tuesday, the Minister said while the release of crime statistics is a way for police to account, it must lead to innovative methods to fighting crime, such as “smart policing”.
The Minister said this at the back of a decrease in community reported serious crime, while contact crimes like murder, as well as trio crimes like carjacking, robbery at residential premises and robbery at non-residential premises continue to rise.
“… There is a decrease but we are not happy… I have told [the police top brass] that interventions like smart policing need to happen.
“We must go back to basics. We don’t need to be told by our people that we are in the era of digital migration. We need to do that ourselves so that we can amplify policing and improve our approach to crime prevention,” he said.
He said this after Lieutenant General Norman Sekhukhune earlier unpacked crime trends and crime statistics to Members of Parliament during a portfolio committee meeting.
Sekhukhune announced that while murder rose by 1.8% in the 2016/ 17 financial year after 19 016 cases were reported, robbery with aggravating circumstances – which includes carjacking, residential and non-residential robberies, truck hijacking, cash-in-transit robberies and bank robberies – went up by 6.4% – from 132 527 reported cases in 2015/ 16 to 140 956 cases in 2016/17.
While carjacking rose by 14.5% during the period under review, robbery at residential premises went up by 7.3%, with robbery at non-residential premises increasing by 5%.
The Minister said a number of areas needed addressing going forward. This includes intensifying policing and ensuring that the approach against crime is more “combative”.
“I don’t want to give [criminals] space to breathe. If you are a criminal, you must know that you are in a hot spot.
“Our combative approach must be intensified. The TRT [Tactical Response Team] has gone for refresher courses…” he said.
Meanwhile, incidents of violent crimes have found their way to popular nightclubs and most recently, the Cape Town International Airport under the alleged gang turf war over club security.
Acting National Police Commissioner Lesetja Mothiba said the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) – commonly known as the Hawks – were tackling the problem. He said he could not, at this stage, provide further information on the issue.
Review of the police employment regulations
Meanwhile, Minister Mbalula said he was in the process of amending the SA Police Service Employment Regulations to improve police oversight and clarify delegated duties.
Briefing the portfolio committee earlier in the day, the Minister said: “… I shall be amending the South African Police Service Employment Regulations of 2008 to align better with the SAPS Act and accord the necessary authority back to the executive authority, as the Act intended for employment regulations to be.
“…It has become very clear that SAPS management often lacks an understanding of executive and legislature authority. The Constitution demands that SAPS be supervised and controlled by the civilian arm of government. We want to return the South African Police Service [to order] and away from… waywardness.
“The amendment of the regulations will be made available to the committee for your noting by the secretary of police.”