Stats show police have lost the war on crime – Premier

2019-09-17 06:00

Despite last year’s promises from police minister Bheki Cele and the service he leads, violent crime in the Western Cape remains effectively unchanged, that is according to a statement from premier Alan Winde’s office. He was commenting on the latest crime statistics.

They were released on Thursday 12 September, covering the period between April 2018 and March 2019. “I’m deeply concerned that murder increased by 6.6% in the Western Cape. Of these, 47% of incidents occurred in just 10 police stations. The murder to population ratio in the Western Cape is 60 per 100 000 – almost double the national average,” he said.

Provincial minister for community safety Albert Fritz also expressed his concern. “Murders reported in the Western Cape account for 18.9% of all murders in the country, while the province only accounts for 11.6% of the population. A total of 11 Western Cape police stations are recorded among the top 30 in the country. This is unacceptable and points to the need for more boots on the ground and more regular statistics. Police need to adopt evidence-based policing, which would lead to deployment at key times in key hotspot locations. We need our police to be in these hotspots before crimes are committed, not after,” he said.

Winde referred to last week’s solidarity protests which saw thousands of people standing up against gender-based violence: “We’ve seen communities impacted by gang violence saying ‘enough’. But when asked about whether heads would roll, minister Bheki Cele said he didn’t believe they should, implying he finds this situation acceptable. President Cyril Ramaphosa and minister Cele should not find the crime situation in this province acceptable at all.”

He said as a province they cannot wait for the police to get its house in order. “This government has been working on a safety plan which will focus on both enforcement and protection. We will announce this plan soon. In the meantime, we continue our call for policing to become a provincial mandate as these statistics have shown that the nationally managed police have lost the war on crime.”

Fritz said his department will conduct an in-depth analysis of the stats to look at specific trends. “Police management has a lot to answer for, and it is my hope that they will be held accountable for their failure to ensure that the people of this country are safe.”

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