Parliament, The Portfolio Committee on Police has called for a relook on the way policing is done in South Africa to stop the rising crime statistics. The committee views it as unacceptable that, every year there is a general increase on crime, yet there are no strident and cutting edge strategies in place to fight crime.
The committee is of the view that the trajectory of crime cannot continue at the current rate and requires a shift in the way we view policing, from being responsive to being more more preventive. This can be achieved through the intensification of collaboration with communities, said the Chairperson of the committee, Ms Tina Joemat-Pettersson.
The committee has also suggested that the police should look into increasing deployment of police in the communities for the purposes of visible policing on weekends, a period which is highlighted as a period in which more, and dangerous crime is committed.
The police must 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 them.
The committee is also calling on the communities to work closely with the police and play an active role in the fight against crime. This cooperation cannot, inadvertently remove the crime fighting responsibility away from the South African Police Service (SAPS). The police, at 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.
Also, the committee views it as unacceptable that there has been an increase in a number of key violent crime indicators, from murder, assault to sexual offences. There is a cause for serious concern with the increase in 1.4% increase in murder, 4.6% increase in sexual offences, 4.1% increase in attempted murder and 2.2% in Assault with Grievous Bodily Harm.
The committee acknowledges that the increase in visible policing will go a long way in reducing acts of crime, and has called on SAPS senior management to move with speed to implement the recruitment drive announced by the President during the State of the Nation Address.
There is also a need to deal with the socio-economic factors that lead to crime. This includes substance abuse and unemployment. The committee believes that 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, Ms Joemat-Pettersson emphasised.
Regarding gender based violence, the committee reiterates its call for strengthening of the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit in order to have a focused approach to the current scourge.
The committee will next week have a more detailed analysis of the crime statistics and try to find solutions to the current challenges.
Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa