On 14 April, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) briefed the South African Parliament Portfolio Committee on Police on how best to assess the South African Police Service (SAPS) annual performance and strategic plans for 2015.
The quality of ISS’ analysis underpins a long and constructive relationship with the portfolio committee. Each year, the ISS is repeatedly invited to brief committee members on issues of crime and policing in South Africa.
‘By explaining crime statistics in relation to the police’s available resources and current strategies, our analysis helps committee members to formulate probing questions for the National Commissioner and senior managers when they present the SAPS budget and strategic plan’, says Gareth Newham, Head of the Governance, Crime and Justice Division at the ISS.
‘Our intention is to strengthen the committee’s oversight role, which should lead to an increase in transparency and accountability in SAPS when it comes to tackling emerging crime and security threats’.
Our intention is to strengthen the committee’s oversight role, which should increase police transparency and accountability
Previous ISS briefings to the committee have highlighted practical options for the police to address crime in South Africa including reducing police corruption and misconduct, and promoting integrity and professionalism in the SAPS.
This presentation highlighted the substantial rise in violent organised crime, such as murder and robbery, in recent years.
Up to 2011 violent and organised crime rates had been declining in South Africa. Since then, the picture has changed dramatically. Nationally the number of murders has increased from 15 609 deaths in 201112 to 17 068 in 201314.
This is partly because of the upsurge in all categories of armed robbery which increased from 101 203 cases in 201112 to 119 351 in 201314. This has caused the number of house robberies to increase by 15%, business robberies by 16,7% and hijackings by 18,4% between 201112 and 201314.
The ISS pointed out that the SAPS had the necessary operational expertise and capacity to reduce robberies. In 2009 a successful anti-robbery strategy resulted in double-digit reductions in hijackings, house and business robberies by 2011.
‘The most critical challenge now facing the police is to improve national leadership,’ says Newham.
Committee members’ attention was drawn to the importance of implementing the recommendations of the National Development Plan, particularly those that say SAPS national and deputy national commissioners should be appointed against clear criteria and only after a competitive and transparent recruitment and selection process.
This would enable the best candidates to occupy the top echelons of the police, which is not currently the case. Committee members were given questions on leadership challenges that could be asked during the budget and planning presentation by the SAPS National Commissioner and her senior managers.
ISS hopes to continue supporting the portfolio committee in improving transparency and accountability of the police and promoting professional policing. Research, analysis and policy aice are critical components of the ISS’ efforts to improve criminal justice in South Africa.
For more information, contact:
Gareth Newham, ISS: +27 82 887 1557, firstname.lastname@example.org
Source : Institute for Security Studies