Failing forensics labs tackled

2011-11-17 20:15

Durban - Government is trying to sort out problems in the forensic labs, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said.

Beefing up ailing government forensic labs was a key priority, he said in a public lecture at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Westville Campus on Thursday night.

Problems in forensic labs had a negative impact on detective services, he said.

"We are well aware that we cannot strengthen our detective services without equally addressing our forensic capacity," he said.

There have been a number of media reports about the bad state of government forensic labs.

Mthethwa said sorting out problems was not just about buying new equipment or employing new staff.

"Such an approach would imply reinventing a broken wheel. Instead, we developed a clear plan with clear monitoring evaluation processes," he said.

Government was getting help from local and international experts to craft a plan to rescue forensic labs, he said.

To win the fight against crime, government needed to address service delivery within the police, he said.

"Lazy cops will have no place or space in the SA Police Service. There is a need for greater command and control within the police."

Mthethwa said they were also improving communication in the police force.

"Police must ensure that once they arrest criminals, [they] communicate to society that such scoundrels are now behind bars.

"Failure to do so, leads to anxiety and perceptions that police are ineffective, when in fact they are effective."

  • DerpyHooves - 2011-11-17 20:45

    Did you hear about the police chief that went crazy and stated shooting everyone? I guess he went... Ballistic YYYYYEEEEEAAAAAH!

  • Francois - 2011-11-17 20:51

    Hey Nathi, you are saying what everyone knew for the last decade, but we appreciate that you are acknowledging the problem, now you are one step closer to the solution, although the solution may be that a disproportionate amount of white people will get jobs at the labs, sadly, yet simply, as a legacy of apartheid. You will most probably need to choose between Hypocrite Mbeki great colouring book project and service delivery, what will it be? Taking into acccount your long history of allowing former uber watch dog Cele to run the police as a fiefdom, my guess is that, though true, your speech is just some political rhetoric.

  • roboman1 - 2011-11-17 21:50

    Call In david Klatzow as a consultant

  • Cracker - 2011-11-17 21:54

    We need the best available scientific minds for the accurate functioning of the vitally important forensic laboratory arm to our criminal justice system. To always sacrifice the best on the altar of race is bad. For everybody in the longer term, not even to mention the short term where innocent people may also be dragged into it. We have the technology to ensure that by means of video recording only genuine admissions or confessions by suspects are allowed as evidence in criminal cases. Why not use it? Remove all doubt about what took place between the police and the accused. As for the forensic laboratories, make it a random allocation which of the laboratories have to evaluate the evidentiary material. Remove all possible reasonable concern about the credibility of the process. In fact, don’t let the police be the forensic scientists. Make it an absolutely independent venture. Make our criminal justice system absolutely above suspicion concerning HONESTY. Mistakes they may make but we the public and presiding officers should never have reason to suspect the honesty behind the laboratories’ and even the average police officer’s efforts.

      Winsome - 2011-11-18 07:20

      Cracker, being government most of the positions are held by BEE applicants. The best of the rest have fled overseas where they are able to secure jobs in their specialised fields. I don't think I will be able to really trust any decision that came out of a lab in SA - unless it was a private lab. And I am NOT racist - but I am a realist.

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