/ 23 June 2008

Gauteng set to get more detectives

More detectives could be deployed to help Gauteng fight against aggravated robbery, provincial minister of community safety Firoz Cachalia said on Monday.

Presenting his budget vote speech at the Gauteng legislature, Cachalia said that his department was focused on reducing the number of violent robberies in the province.

”Where it becomes evident that additional assistance is required, this will be made available.

”Direct assistance will be provided through the Provincial Detective Support Teams [PDST, which will assist local-level detectives with gathering and processing evidence of cases where violence has been used against victims, he said.

Cachalia also said more detectives in general would arrive in the province soon.

”We can expect to receive an additional 453 detectives in Gauteng by March 31 2009,” he said.

Cachalia said assessments done by his department so far in June of 25 police stations had indicated that detective services needed to be improved.

The department had also introduced a provincial police performance monitoring programme that provided monthly updates on crime patterns and police performance at all 130 Gauteng stations.

In the past financial year, an electronic system for logging and tracking all complaints received against the police was introduced.

In the 2007/08 financial year, 487 complaints were received and 452 finalised.

Nearly half the complaints were about poor service delivery and nearly a quarter about unprofessional conduct.

Just less than 18% of complaints were about poor investigations.

Cachalia said corruption in the police had to be rooted out: ”Police officers who display a lack of interest, are rude, don’t act professionally or engage in misconduct undermine public respect and trust in the police.

”This situation can only benefit criminals as it weakens the police service,” he said.

Cachalia said during the 2007/08 financial year the registrations of various vehicle testing stations were cancelled after they were found to be non-compliant with the law.

Seventy-two people were arrested for fraud and corruption.

”To date, six have already received sentences ranging between R8 000 and 18 months’ imprisonment.”

Cachalia also said 15 vehicle examiners were deregistered for not complying with the National Road Traffic Act.

The department recalled 2 253 vehicles for obtaining roadworthy certificates irregularly and cancelled 141 driver’s licenses.

When it came to road safety, Cachalia said an additional 137 traffic law enforcement officers would be recruited in the 2008/09 financial year.

He also said a total of 1 966 unroadworthy vehicles had been taken off the province’s roads.

One hundred and eleven roadblocks were planned for the coming financial year.

Cachalia said hazardous roads in Gauteng had been identified as Diepsloot N14, the Golden Highway, Barry Marais Road, Moloto Road, Geba Road (Kagiso) and the Old Potchefstroom Road.

Olievenhoutsbosch, Rivonia Road, R59 Sybrand van Niekerk, Soweto Highway, Paul Kruger (East Rand), Bapsfontein R25, Hans Strydom and the R101 Bonaccord were also considered key road-safety hazard areas.

The department was also involved in various community-based crime-fighting organisations and 25 000 people throughout Gauteng were part of the department’s Take Charge anti-crime campaign.

The department assisted 118 community policing forums.

Executive community protection forum members were offered accredited training through the University of Pretoria.

More than 2 000 people were recruited as community patrollers for disadvantaged communities who do not have access to private security.

The department was also involved in training programmes to help communities fight against women and child abuse, as well as help with the promotion of safety in schools. — Sapa