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Police needs drastic turnaround to restore public’s confidence in the service

(Budget vote debate in Parliament: Police)

The Constitution stipulates that the South African Police Service (SAPS) must protect the country's citizens and their property.

Yet, the level of violent crime in the country is disproportionately high in relation to the rest of the world, with a murder rate of 36 out of every 100 000 of the population, compared to a world average of 7 out of 100 000.

The Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, is quick to blame the public, and legal firearm owners in particular, for the high incidence of violent crime.

Reality paints a very different picture, though. The Police Service is the state entity in possession of the greatest number of firearms in the country, even more than the Defence Force.

Over the course of a five-year period from 2016/17-2020/21, 3 405 firearms either went missing or were stolen from the Police. Of these, only 1 674 were recovered.

It means that there are currently 1 731 of these firearms in the hands of criminals.

Everyone is aware of the situation at the Norwood Police Station and the 175 firearms that went missing there.

In addition to the firearms, nearly R80 000 in cash went missing from the Police Station's storage facility.

The money and firearms were important pieces of evidence in 53 separate cases. What transpired here is the direct undermining of the criminal justice system.

The relevant station commander resigned in January this year and no action was subsequently taken against him.

Events like these greatly undermine the public's confidence in the Police Service. Research indicates that the public's confidence has dropped from 47% in 1999 (the highest) to just 27% today.

There are indeed many good and hard-working police officers who do their very best, but they are clearly in the minority.

Thus, the FF Plus is calling on Minister Cele and the new National Police Commissioner, General Fannie Masemola, to take drastic action to intensify discipline and eradicate corruption.

The Police Service is supposed to promote the entire criminal justice system, but the opposite is currently happening, it is being undermined at the expense of the people of South Africa.

The current state of affairs has already set the alarm bells ringing. It cannot go on like this

 

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