Cape Town- An article claiming that more social workers, and not police officers, are needed to curb crime is “confusing”, acting police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane said on Friday.
“What is it social workers are going to do to bring down contact crime? Crimes are being committed by people wielding illegal firearms,” he told Parliament’s portfolio committee on police.
“As the SAPS, we do our best to bring these crime levels down, to ensure the same social workers are able to do their work in our communities.”
Speaking after the presentation of the 2015/16 crime statistics, he said policing remained a thankless job.
The police force continued to be “pelted by armchair critics with untrained observations”.
Despite this, they would not be distracted and remained loyal to serving the people of the country, he said.
“What is put before this committee is evidence of men and women in blue who went an extra mile.”
Phahlane said they would on Sunday commemorate those officers who “were not able to finish the race” and had died in service.
In response to the statistics, Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko said they were largely registering progress and success. Police visibility and patrols were critical to yielding results.
Where there had been an increase in crime, Nhleko said there had still been a downward trend over the last decade.
“We are beginning to see a decrease. The only problem area is the issue of contact crime,” he said.
Seemingly contrary to what Phahlane said, Nhleko felt efforts needed to be made to address patterns of social behaviour.
“We need to begin to engage the overall social outlook.”