The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) has noted the recently released quarterly crime statistics covering the period January to March 2022 by the South African Police Service (SAPS).
The fact that there has been rising crime statistics in almost all categories comes as no surprise, considering the environment within which the SAPS management, police officers and the stations within which they work in do not enable for maximum utilisation of all available resources in providing sufficient service delivery.
We have noted that in the period under review, the murder rate has increased by 22,2%, amounting to 6083 murders, with over 27 police officers murdered, while the murder of children went up by 37.2% and common robbery went up by 6.5%, amounting to 32 783 cases, and sexual offenses reported to police increased by by 13,7%, amounting to 13799 reported cases. All of these are reflective of an overall increase of 9,3% in crime.
While this is the case, the fact that sexual offenses reported to police has increased by 13.7% is indicative of the reality that more people are coming out to report, which should be seen as a positive move towards exposing perpetrators and ensuring such heinous crimes are no longer hidden behind closed doors.
We are further concerned about the consistent patterns of crime in certain areas, as with the continued rape cases demonstrating that Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape, Inanda in Kwa Zulu-Natal and Thohohandou in Limpopo that have been reflected upon, registering the highest number of rape cases. The three police stations registered an increase from 84 to 89, 69 to 98 and 63 to 67 from the previous to current financial year respectively.
Ideally, crime statistics are supposed to serve as a tool with which to provide our law enforcement agencies with data for use of determining budgetary formulations, planning and the allocation of resources and police operations. The fact that the current statistics demonstrate a general rise in crime can only be reflective of the levels of incapacity faced by the SAPS, which include the uneven allocation of resources, poor working conditions and the shortages of ammunition and training among others.
Such unabated patterns are but a reflection of the deep-rooted capacity challenges faced by our police officers across different communities, wherein despite being aware of the crime conditions, are limited by the availability of resources to make any real interventions.
It is always vital that when addressing the rising crime statistics, we take a broad approach that considers the broader socio-economic conditions faced by the populace, including the implications thereof which lead to the conditions our law enforcement officers have to contend with.
We are of the view that crime statistics should not be the sole responsibility of the Ministry of Police, but the collective responsibility of the entire criminal justice cluster with the SAPS accounting for the arrests made, the Judiciary accounting for the number convictions and prosecutions, while the Department of Correctional Services accounts for the number of incarcerations. This, we believe, will assist in determining consolidated future budgets that should bring about a correlated approach within the CJC instead of the current continued situation wherein every department works blindly, and in isolation of one another.
Issued by POPCRU
For more information contact Richard Mamabolo on 066 135 4349