Govt rooting out rotten cops - Mthethwa
Johannesburg - The government is making a concerted effort to address crime within the police, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said in Sandton on Thursday.
"Much as we are tough in dealing with criminality, we are doing the same in arresting and convicting police officers who are involved in crime," he told delegates at an Institute for Security Studies (ISS) conference.
He said within the few years he had been in his portfolio it was evident this problem began at the point of recruitment.
"Some of the people we recruit, in no time they are involved in crime," he said.
"Communities should be involved in one way or the other to ensure that at the end of the day we don't get people who find their way into the [SA Police Service] simply because they have money or perhaps they have bribed their way into [being recruited]."
When they audited recruitment, they found there was a recruitment officer in provinces and it was problematic that such an important task was in the hands of one person.
The police needed referrals from the areas where candidates came from. The person may not have been convicted, but the community could say whether they were a problem.
The public would find hope in knowing the police wanted an "upstanding person".
"Some of the people you have recruited, you find out they have been involved in criminal activities," he said.
"You look at the person and you see how he walks and you think how did it come in the first place [that this person was recruited]?"
Isolating 'rotten apples'
He praised the ISS for its "Reward a Cop, Report a Cop" initiative, launched in September.
It was important to encourage people to recognise and support good police officers and isolate "rotten apples" who misused their positions.
The government was pleased with the overall reductions in crime, but was still concerned about the two percent increase in rape and the increase in ATM bombings.
A greater understanding of the nature of crime was required, in particular why crime in South Africa was so violent. More information was needed on why crime was being committed by repeat offenders, he said.
In spite of rehabilitation, some people were even more hardened, and conferences such as the ISS one, could help find out why this happened.