Police commissioner outlines action plan to fight grim crime stats

National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole says the South African Police Sevice (SAPS) will keep intensifying its interventions to combat crime in the country.

This follows the release of the latest crime statistics in at Parliament on Thursday morning.

The figures showed an increase in contact crimes such as murder, sexual offences and robbery with aggravating circumstance.

The murder rate has gone up by 3.4% between April last year and March this year. Sexual offences have increased by 4.4%.

Sitole says the SAPS is working on new crime-fighting strategies. These include reopening cold cases, focusing on the modus operandi analysis centre, and the possible return of the special unit to deal with murder and robbery.

These are definitely not great stats... but we are moving forward with more intensified approaches.

General Khehla Sitole - National Police Commissioner

According to Sitole, there has been a drastic improvement with the police's crime intelligence, especially linked to the spate of cash-in-transit heists last year.

Crime intelligence was a problem but we came up with a turnaround.

General Khehla Sitole - National Police Commissioner

Police need to have internal reforms to improve public trust

Meanwhile, Gareth Newham, head of governance at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), agrees that policing needs to be specialised.

However, he says that SAPS will not succeed if it does not deal with the poor public perception of policing and high levels of corruption and misconduct.

They need to start looking within the police with the focus on building public credibility because that is where we have seen a big decline in recnet years.

Gareth Newham, Head of governance - Institute for Security Studies

Over the last five years, the police have spent R1.5bn paying out the victims of police misconduct and abuse.

Gareth Newham, Head of governance - Institute for Security Studies

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