A shocking report to the police portfolio committee in Parliament has confirmed what was long suspected: there is underreporting of crime, which speaks to a national distrust of police.
The report reveals that police officers actively work to convince victims that there was no crime; crimes are only registered in the incident book, or are not all listed in a docket — this from a country which in the early 2000s presented crime statistics of an international standard.
Enter Riah Phiyega stage left. In four years she convinced herself, and her sycophantic supporters, that the South African Police Service (SAPS) was achieving its reduction targets. It wasn’t.
The report states that SA lost more than 70% of the gains we achieved during the period 2004 to 2012. Under Phiyega, there was a clash between police culture and academically qualified civilian members.
Today, the police have grouped together in unwieldy batches both more-and less-policeable crimes, virtually rendering analysis moot.
After a decade of calling for a career police officer to run the SAPS, we now have one.
Sadly, the euphoria is tempered somewhat by the appointment of the former fired national police commissioner, Bheki Cele. As minister, provided he is able to avoid the financial traps he fell into over and over again as commissioner, we can but hope he listens to the real generals he now oversees.
Dianne Kohler Barnard
MP DA member of the police portfolio committee