25 November 2011

South Africa: Provinces to Talk More About Crime

Pretoria — Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has called for provincial police coordination to be prioritised in order to deal with crime more effectively.

Speaking at a quarterly review meeting in Cape Town, Mthethwa highlighted the need for regular interaction, proper coordination and constant communication between SAPS provincial commissioners and MECs.

Such coordination should also filter down to local police station level, he added.

"Constant contact and interaction makes you understand when there are weaknesses, the decision to prioritise provincial coordination is also premised along an understanding that whilst each province's safety vulnerability may differ, trends have over the past few years indicated that crime often gets displaced and crime syndicates operate inter-provincially," the minister said.

Acting National Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi said that the appointment of the new commissioners should better enhance police's existing crime fighting capacity.

"There have been some structural challenges in some of the provinces but as we move towards better and effective coordination, we will be reviewing and looking at adjustments at the senior management. We have some of the best managers within the organisation and we must utilise these capacities to achieve better results," he added.

The meeting agreed to continue with efforts to raise awareness and consolidate partnerships on police killings.

"We need the support of the communities against the killing of police and stand a better chance to deal with this negative issue if we work together. If criminals kill our foot soldiers, criminals will have a field day and we cannot allow that. This issue must always be on top of our agenda and every law abiding citizens," Mthethwa said.

A decision was also taken to host a Cross Border Crime Indaba next year, during which all the provinces would discuss challenges related to cross border crimes.

Police's festive season campaign, When Duty Calls, was also discussed, with the minister calling for "more action and less talking".

"Police actions on heartless criminals must speak volumes, whether through police visibility or cracking down on crime syndicates. There should also be continuous sharing of information; the left hand must know what the right hand is doing," he said.

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