South Africa’s Parliament on Thursday called on the police to take cutting-edge strategies to fight rising crimes.
Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Police said a review is necessary on the way policing is done in South Africa, after being briefed by Police Minister Bheki Cele on the latest crime statistics.
Cele reported that in 2018/2019 financial year, they recorded 1.4 per cent increase in murder, 4.6-per cent increase in sexual offences, 4.1-per cent increase in attempted murder 2.2 per cent in assault with grievous bodily harm.
He added that in 2018/2019 financial year, the country recorded over 21,000 murders, an increase of 686 murders from the 2018.
Committee chairperson, Tina Joemat-Pettersson said it is unacceptable that there has been an increase in a number of key violent crime indicators, from murder, assault to sexual offences.
Joemat-Pettersson said there was a cause for serious concern with rising crimes.
She said the trajectory of crime cannot continue at the current rate and requires a shift in the way policing is being done, from being responsive to being more preventive.
The chairperson said a more preventive policing can be achieved through the intensification of collaboration with communities.
According to her, every year records a general increase in crimes, yet there are no strident and cutting edge strategies in place to fight crimes.
She called for increasing deployment of police in communities for the purposes of visible policing on weekends, a period which is highlighted the time which more dangerous crimes are committed.
Joemat-Pettersson urged the police to work hard to recapture their credibility and public trust.
“This will be achieved by being responsive to the concerns of the communities and remove those that are corrupt among the police force.
“Communities should also work closely with the police and play an active role in the fight against crimes.’’
Joemat-Pettersson said that cooperation cannot inadvertently remove the crime fighting responsibility away from the South African Police Service (SAPS).
She added that the police at the station level must constantly improve relations with the communities they service to ensure the existence of the bridges of trust for the purposes of pushing back the frontiers of crime.
She also urged the SAPS senior management to move with speed in implementing the recruitment drive.
Committee chairperson also stressed the need to deal with the socio-economic factors such as drug abuse and high unemployment that lead to crimes.
“There must be a social compact involving all the sectors of society to deal with the fundamental ills that are affecting the country and that are manifesting themselves in crime.
“We have to accept that police alone cannot fight crime as they are at the far end of the cycle, and solutions must be directed towards the root causes of criminal behaviour.’’