NEWS & ANALYSIS

The crime situation is under control - Riah Phiyega

SAPS NC says past nine years has seen a general decline in most serious crime categories

Remarks by the National Commissioner at the release of the SAPS National 2012/2013 Crime Statistics, APS Tshwane Training Academy, Pretoria, September 19 2013

What I'm presenting to you here today is a story of assurance and confidence. When we look at the crime situation over the past nine years until today, we see a general decline and we expect this declining trend to continue in respect of the majority of our serious crime categories.

There is therefore no doubt in my mind that the crime situation in our country is under control and that we continue to make good progress. We do, however, note a couple of challenges, particularly with regards to murder and attempted murder. We are attending to these challenges and I will elaborate later with regards to specific measures we are going to take in order to address the situation.

As you are recall, I recently announced that there is a need for us to reorganise, streamline and - in certain areas - redefine responsibilities. I want each and every individual within SAPS to be called on to account for delivery on their responsibilities. We have a new leadership which is committed and focused on delivering on our core mandate.

If we are to break the back of crime, we cannot adopt "business as usual" approach. As we analyse the main drivers of crime, it is clearly evident that there are many underlying contributory factors. These include: alcoholism, drugs, unemployment and the generally violent nature of our society.

Failure on our part, and the part of key stakeholders, to address these contributory elements will significantly hamper progress in our fight against crime.

Let me conclude by pointing out that protests countrywide continue to be a major challenge and are consuming our resources which are meant for visible policing. We need to deal with these visible policing constraints upfront. In this regard, we are looking into beefing up our public order policing resources. We are at the moment over- stretched and this impact negatively on visible policing. We shall, in addition be considering re-opening some of the dormant public order policing units, continue to work closely with other Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster stakeholders to leverage on our collective capacity in dealing with public order policing matters.

Furthermore, with our crime combating and prevention efforts being fairly concentrated in urban and developed areas, crime is being displaced to less developed and rural areas. We shall be focusing our efforts in finding further innovative and cost efficient solutions to improve our policing efforts in rural areas.

Also, there is a need for us to conduct a qualitative analysis of the primary factors driving violent crime, including murder and attempted murder, and what can be done about it. We take into account some of the studies conducted a few years ago and seek to advance an even deeper understanding of these issues.

We cannot over emphasize the importance of partnerships in our fight against crime. I am going to be meeting with community policing forums and many other policing partners as I believe that they have a key role to play going forward.

I am a firm believer that SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE, SOMEHOW KNOWS SOMETHING ABOUT CRIME in their community. Acting on such knowledge is pivotal for our success. Towards that end, we need to enhance the relationships we have with communities in order to fight crime effectively.

Views continue to be raised about the authenticity of our crime statistics. SAPS are hard at work to ensure that we achieve a level of statistical reporting that optimally meets validity tests. As part of our interventions to deal with the concerns, we have entered into discussions with StatsSA. I am glad to say that we will soon enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with StatsSA. This will enable us to enhance our current statistical reporting as well as to march convincingly towards optimal reporting levels. I will invite the media when we sign the MOU so that I can provide details as to how this relationship with StatsSA will benefit of all us.

I wish to thank the Minister of Police for his leadership and strategic guidance as well as express our appreciation for the ongoing support from the Deputy Minister and other strategic entities in the Ministry of Police.

I also wish to thank the Portfolio Committee for their oversight role, in particular the chairperson Ms Annalise Van Wyk. I appreciate that the relationship between the Department and the Portfolio Committee is usually reflected in the public as adversarial in nature. I don't believe it is so. It is frank and robust and it is meant for us as SAPS to continuously improve. This is healthy because at the end of the day, we have a common goal. We want the police to deliver on its core mandate for the benefit of all South Africans.

Our reporting would be incomplete without the strategic inputs of our policing partners, SABRIC, The South African Consumer Goods Council, Business Against Crime to name but a few, thank you for your continued unwavering support together we are a formidable force against a common enemy, crime.

Ladies and gentlemen, as the police we take a lot of flack in the media for a variety of reasons. Whilst some the negativity is deserved, what often goes unnoticed is hard work done by the police. Ours is a tough and thankless task. It would therefore be remiss of me if I didn't use this opportunity to thank all the men and women in blue for their commitment and dedication. The good results and confidence I have in our ability to continue the good fight against crime is because of their efforts and sacrifices.

I thank you

Issued by the SAPS, September 19 2013

Click here to sign up to receive our free daily headline email newsletter