30 cops arrested - Petros
Johannesburg - Thirty Gauteng police officers and one public prosecutor were arrested in September, the Gauteng Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Mzwandile Petros said on Thursday.
Petros, who was speaking at an Institute for Security Studies conference in Muldersdrift, said that police would continue to have a "corporate identity" problem with such cases.
He said that there needed to be a sustained effort to ensure that those recruited are good police officers who are prepared to fight crime even in their own ranks.
"We need to be seen to be doing something," he said, adding that most of the arrests related to drugs cases and police dockets going missing.
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, who also addressed the conference, said: "We need to get rid of these rotten potatoes. We are going to tell the world 'here are the corrupt former police officers. We don't need them'."
He said that there should be no secrecy when police root out criminal elements within the police force.
He praised many officers, whom he said were "heeding the call" to arrest corrupt police officers.
The police were looking at how they recruited officers to ensure that the force obtained the quality it needed.
New recruits needed to be inspired by their commanding officers. Too often recruits' enthusiasm for a career in the police was destroyed.
"We want young people to want to become police officers, we do not want their spirits dampened by corrupt police officers."
Researchers had an important role to play and to contribute towards reducing violent crime in South Africa.
He said they could play a critical role in researching the reasons behind violent crime.
"There are many developing nations with economies bigger or smaller than South Africa which do not have the level of violence that exists in South Africa. We would expect researchers to probe this aspect," he said.
He said that police also needed to communicate their arrests to the public. The failure of police to communicate their successes did them no favours and contributed to a poor public perception.
Police still needed to address the issue of policing in rural areas. Police stations tended to be located in cities and towns, leaving rural residents at the mercy of criminals.
He said that a major challenge was to rid the country of illegal firearms.
In the fight against drugs, he said that there needed to be more focus on transnational crimes.
As well as upgrading the quality of detective work, the SAPS forensic capabilities needed to be improved.
"We are well aware that we cannot strengthen our detective services without equally addressing our forensic capacity."