Damning report on criminal cops
Criminals employed in the South African Police Service and a lack of oversight make it unlikely that a decrease in crime will be seen.
This was revealed in the latest Institute of Race Relations report, titled “Broken Blue Line”, which was released on Wednesday.
The author of the report, Marius Roodt, said the continuing high levels of police involvement in serious and violent crime was one of the key findings.
“As long as the police service remains home to violent criminals, it is very unlikely that South Africa will experience a sustained and significant decline in serious and violent crime,” he said.
This is the third report of its kind, with the others being released in 2011 and 2015. The previous reports also found a high level of involvement in serious crimes by police officers.
“There should be no need for such a report as the police should be our primary line of defence against criminal violence,” Roodt said.
“However, in too many cases, that line of defence has broken down and the supposed defenders have become perpetrators.”
The report is based on more than 100 incidents of alleged police involvement in violent and serious crime between 2016 and 2018. The vast majority of the incidents were recorded in the past 12 months.
“At the same time, violent crime is increasing, with the five-year trends for crimes such as murder and hijacking showing an increase,” Roodt said.
“This is coupled with a growing lack of trust in the police [and the broader criminal justice system] by ordinary citizens, which further compounds societal problems.”
The findings include:
● Serious and violent crime trends are unlikely to change in the near future;
● Police lack the capacity, particularly well-trained managers, resulting in a spike in crime;
● Police watchdog Ipid lacks resources and struggles to fulfil its mandate;
● The public losing faith in the police and criminal justice system could result in an increase in mob justice attacks;
● Criminal gangs have infiltrated the police; and
● As confidence in the police drops, more people turn to private security to protect them.
Roodt made a string of suggestions.
“First, we suggest that expenses on security, such as electric fences or payments to a security firm, be made tax deductible,” he said.
“Second, communities should be allowed to vote for – or have a significant influence over the appointment of their station commander, which would make the head of the local police station directly accountable to the community.
“Third, we propose the development of well-organised and well-resourced neighbourhood watch schemes that are integrated with private security providers – and, ultimately, with the police – so that communities can, in effect, take control of their own security.”