Operation launched in S. Africa to restore police authority

Source: Xinhua| 2018-01-24 01:25:38|Editor: Zhou Xin
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CAPE TOWN, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) - South African police on Tuesday launched an operation targeting police officers who "co-exist with criminals."

The operation followed a series of recent protests against police negligence of duty in fighting crimes.

"As we have seen in recent days and weeks, there are several protests actions that have occurred due to communities losing faith in the police," Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said at the launch ceremony in Newtown, central South Africa.

"Most of these protests are of genuine feelings and I want to state clearly that our people are correct," Mbalula said.

It is clear that some police stations have relented and have accepted to co-exist with crime and live side by side with criminals, Mbalula said.

"This is what our people are rejecting and we urge police to work harder in cooperating with their communities," he said.

The operation, he said, must restore community faith in police.

There have been growing complaints that rogue cops are helping criminals or taking part in crimes themselves, worsening the security situation in the crime-stricken country.

As police authority is declining, communities have developed a tendency of protecting criminals by not providing information on crimes or suspects and also by attacking the police, Mbalula warned.

When communities report drug dens, illegal shebeens, brothels and human trafficking suspects, police are obliged to open a docket and investigate the matter officially with clear action taken, he said.

The operation, which will also target undocumented migrants, drug smuggling and illegal firearms, will run for a year, after which its progress will be reevaluated.

It involves the participation of the Department of Home Affairs, State Security Agency, the National Prosecuting Authority and the military, among others, according to Mbalula.

The operation drew immediate applause from Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Police.

Of major importance is the drive to include all spheres of the government in the fight against crime, Committee Chairperson Francois Beukman said.

The emphasis on the community is important as community members remain the repository of information that can assist the police in resolving many cases, he said.

"We believe that crime hotspots in the urban and rural environments should be targeted in this operation so that affected citizens who bear the brunt of crime could experience a real difference," said Beukman.

One of the reasons for persistent high crime rate in South Africa is that criminal elements are present in the South African Police Service (SAPS), according to Parliament.

Every year a number of rogue cops are arrested for taking part in armed robberies using SAPS firearms.

According to the most recent Victims Survey published by Statistics South Africa, confidence in the police service is on a slippery slope.

The survey shows that more and more South Africans do not trust police.

Highlighting households' eroding confidence in police over the years, the survey finds that 59 percent of the households surveyed held negative attitudes about the police and felt that the police could not provide adequate protection.