Police lifestyle audits needed, portfolio committee says after officer arrested for alleged gun theft

The arrest of a police officer from Bellville south, Cape Town, for the alleged theft of 18 firearms from police stores highlights the need for lifestyle audits on officers, chairperson of Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Police Francois Beukman said. 

The police constable was arrested at the Bellville South police station on Monday for his alleged role in the theft of the firearms destined for destruction. He has appeared in court and will be kept in custody until his bail application next Tuesday.  

Beukman said the committee was pushing for stricter gun control and for more resources for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation's (the Hawks) specialised unit probing illegal firearms.

It also wants Crime Intelligence to be beefed up to deal with gun smuggling syndicates and a review of the firearms registry's turnaround strategy.

"Furthermore, there is urgent need to implement lifestyle audits on SAPS [South African Police Service] members to fight against any form of corruption. Vetting and lifestyle audits can be an effective way of removing rogue officers within the system and ensure the return of the credibility of the organisation."

READ: 10 things you should know about the national gun smuggling investigation

Beukman's statement comes after an admission by Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula that South Africa National Defence Force weapons were also being targeted.

Last year she said in a reply to FF Plus that more than 14 000 stolen ammunition rounds, two exercise hand grenades and 253 pencil flares were stolen.

On Tuesday she revealed that an R4 rifle was recovered by police at the scene of a cash-in-transit heist, and a pistol and two R4 rifles were found at a suspect's house. 

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