2014-10-15 00:00

MATTHEW Bennett, from Hillcrest, has personally been hit by five serious crimes this year — and seen no arrests.

Adrian Chaning-Pearce and his neighbours, in Greytown, have been hit by 14 crimes in two years — including murder and bloody mayhem — and have seen a total of one arrest, and no convictions between them.

Yesterday, statistics within the SAPS annual report revealed that the police dysfunction that has enraged these two KZN men is a trend crippling the national criminal justice system.

The report reveals there were 290 000 fewer arrests this year than the previous year — a 17% slump the Institute for Security Studies described as “unprecedented; staggering”.

The SAPS report stated there were 12 000 more arrests for “serious crimes” — which the ISS applauded — but an astounding 300 000 fewer collars for “other crimes”.

With 13 000 fewer arrests in total, KwaZulu-Natal police arrested half as many criminals than their Western Cape counterparts in the past year, according to the report. On average KwaZulu-Natal police were also 25% slower in responding to crimes in progress than those in the Cape.

However, the arrest statistics were so bizarre The Witness has challenged the national SAPS to recalculate and confirm the key numbers of their own annual report to be submitted to Parliament.

That is because the report not only suggests the Western Cape doubled its arrests in a single year — from 255 000 to 489 000 — but that its arrests exceeded the total number of crimes in the province.

Gareth Newham, head of the crime and justice division at the ISS, said the official police arrest claims were “almost certainly flawed and indicate a major management mess”.

But, Newham said more reliable evidence confirmed “serious dysfunction — at a time when we are seeing the worst crime statistics in at least 10 years”.

Having been pistol-whipped and severely beaten at a Mugg & Bean outlet in January, Bennett, a restaurant manager, was forced off the road in a road rage incident in July and twice robbed at his home in September. On the second occasion, a neighbour shot dead one of the robbers.

However, Bennett (23) said no arrests had been made in any of the cases — and the cops said he must investigate his road rage attacker personally and provide his name and address “before they could do anything”.

Chaning-Pearce (47) was stabbed eight times on his family farm in November 2012. His brother Julian and sister-in-law Carla were both wounded on the same property in a gang raid in August. Two of the robbers were shot dead in self-defence, but the four other members of the gang remain at large.

Chaning-Pearce said other violent crimes in their “three-kilometre-radius” neighbourhood include the murder of a neighbour and the killing of two local shop owners.

Except for the arrest of one of the three men who stabbed him, he said there had been no arrests “in the six dockets we have on serious crimes, and none in eight other crimes”.

“I learned recently my own case had been closed. The [detective unit] here is undermanned and underequipped — they don’t even get state air-time for their cellphones. A station commander told me only one of their vehicles was working.”

Having already written to the SAPS KZN Commissioner, Chaning-Pearce, the owner of a nursery, said he was drafting an appeal to the public protector to investigate police resources.

An SAPS spokesperson did not respond to questions.

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