War on jewellery store heists - Mthethwa

2012-07-23 21:20
The police must step up the war on jewellery robbers and those who steal large sums of money, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa says. (File, Beeld)

The police must step up the war on jewellery robbers and those who steal large sums of money, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa says. (File, Beeld)

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Johannesburg - The police must step up the war on jewellery robbers and those who steal large sums of money, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said in Cape Town on Monday.

A number of strategies had been developed to address these crimes, such as high police visibility and weekly operations, Mthethwa said in response to questions in Parliament.

"Jewellery stores are policed by visible policing in their normal policing duties as well," he said.

Business forums had been established at high-risk shopping malls.

Mthethwa said criminals were now cloning banks cards and using them to withdraw large sums of money, or to purchase expensive items.

However, these activities were declining as a result of recent arrests.

The latest trend was for criminals to follow people to ATMs, and rob people after they had withdrawn money.

"Strategies are now also implemented to address this new trend and these incidents are being investigated by organised crime units through a task team approach," Mthethwa said.

Responding to a question, Mthethwa said 150 police officers were currently suspended pending the outcome of disciplinary processes.

The rank of those suspended ranged from constable to lieutenant general.

Mthethwa also noted the failure of some police stations to timeously forward complaints to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID).

The IPID recorded 49 cases in the first quarter of the 2012/2013 financial year, all of which were reported late or not at all.

As a result, 38 cases had been opened against police officers for failing to report complaints or reporting complaints late.

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