Friday, July 19, 2024


ISS ready to assist new Police Minister

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The Pretoria-headquartered Institute for Security Studies (ISS) has many recommendations for South Africa’s new police minister Senzo Mchunu in order to improve the performance of the SA Police Service (SAPS).

Throughout its existence to date the ISS has followed and analysed crime trends and police performance. While strides were made during the first half of the country’s democracy, police effectiveness declined since 2012, according to an ISS statement. As an example, the SAPS detection rate for murder dropped from 31% to 12% and almost three out of four people surveyed in 2021 said they had little or no trust in the police.

“This decline is partly due to a shifting crime landscape as a result of growing social and economic challenges and new technology, while the SAPS – a large and cumbersome organisation – changed very little over the past couple of decades,” Gareth Newham, ISS Head of Justice and Violence Prevention, said.

The SAPS needs renewal and clear direction, the ISS maintains. As an initial, urgent measure, Mchunu should formally direct the service to focus on reducing firearm crime and violence, which will bring down murder and robbery rates. Between 2011 and 2023, murders increased by 77% and armed robberies by over 41%.

Within six months Mchunu should issue a clear and bold national policing policy aimed at improving police performance, particularly concerning crime intelligence and investigation.

These are included in practical measures the ISS outlined in a new set of police reforms launched on 27 June. Covering leadership, serious and violent crime, police corruption, data and technology, and auxiliary policing, the recommendations are a foundation for an effective and trusted police service.

Given the scale and complexity of crime in South Africa, the man who replaced Bheki Cele will need to draw on the advice of experts both inside and outside the SAPS. “We encourage him to make use of the knowledge and skills available in policy institutes like the ISS, non-governmental organisations, academic institutions and the private sector. We are ready to assist,” the statement reads, in part.

The full ISS document on strengthening the SAPS can be found here.



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