SAPS hits out at report of rising criminality within police

THE South African Police Service (SAPS) has hit back at the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) report on criminality within the service, saying it is based on suspect methodology and reveals nothing new.

On Wednesday the institute released its second report on police criminal activity titled: Broken Blue Line 2 – the involvement of the South African Police Service in serious and violent crime in SA.

Its findings are based on a study of 100 cases involving police criminality and data from the police’s and the Independent Police Investigation Directorate’s annual reports.

The report showed that 32% of the cases reviewed related to murder, 26% to rape, 22% to armed robberies and 20% to other crimes including torture, theft and burglaries.

The institute’s lead researcher, Gerbrandt van Heerden, defended the report’s findings, saying that there should not be any cases of police being involved in serious crimes. “The police (have) 1,500 convicted criminals (in) their ranks. Many policemen are not taken to court as there is a culture of the police protecting their own. Every case of police criminality must result in a conviction.”

In many cases policemen were only issued with a verbal warning after having committed a crime, Mr van Heerden said.

SAIRR looked at the London Metropolitan Police and found, using the same methodology as the one in the SAPS study, only a few cases of petty crime and none involving violence.

SAPS national spokesman Solomon Makgale described the report as full of generalisations. “I am not sure why they call it research findings because it is not telling us anything new.

“They basically took newspaper articles, the majority of which are written on the basis of information provided by the SAPS, and then draw conclusions.”

Lt-Gen Makgale said the conclusion, in the main, was that all police officers were criminals, rapists and murders. “Nothing can be further from the truth. We have been very open about the problem of criminality within the SAPS and how we are dealing with it.

“For example, over the 18-month period to October 2014 we dismissed 777 police officers … for involvement in various criminal activities. It is something which we are very open about.”

The SAPS would soon be launching an integrity management unit to address integrity issues within the service including police criminality.

Citing 2013 Parliament Monitoring Group data, SAIRR CE Frans Cronje said 1,448 police had criminal records. “Of this, 54 are convicted murderers, 37 are rapists, while 116 were convicted for attempted murder, 33 for attempted rape, 917 for assault and 291 for other offences.

“It’s clear there is a pattern of criminal behaviour in the police.”

SAPS’s efforts to rid itself of criminals had not been effective, Mr Cronje said. “Results show in the 2013-4 year 1,300 (police officers) were dismissed.

“But, the number of cases are increasing so significantly that it’s not a drop in the ocean.” – BDLive