This is my 3rd and hopefully my last rant. Crime is definitely getting worse, the only reason statistics might indicate that crime has improved is that people don’t bother reporting crimes anymore because the police don’t do anything about it. The sad thing is that most crime happens in the townships. The people who can’t afford security suffer the most. There are so many factors that affect the level of crime, some are socio economic, eg. Unemployment, poverty and lack of education. All things which must be dealt with, but there are other important factors which need to be sorted out.
The judicial system is such a mess that criminals that are captured have a good chance of getting off scott free. Even if they make it to court without escaping (with or without the assistance of the police), the evidence is either lost (with or without the assistance of the police) or not ready. Months and months pass before cases are heard and judgement passed. Criminals are often out on bail during that time, committing more crime (with or without police assistance).
The systems and technologies in the police force appear to be non-existent. If you go to report a case, the police officer will manually fill out the form and it will take about 3 hours (no exaggeration) because he is barely literate. Why is it not done on computer and put in a central database? There have been many reports of wanted criminals being found – in jail! The police had no idea they were wanted for other crimes. That’s just ridiculous. There is obviously no communication between different stations, I am surprised they ever manage to catch anyone. I take my hat off to the police having to work in that sort of environment.
The resources are obviously insufficient to do the job as well. They are often complaining that they don’t have a vehicle to get them to a crime scene etc. There are definitely not enough policemen and I don’t think they are trained well enough. They are also not given access to the psychological support they need in the life endangering environment in which they work. This is apparent from the number of them that go nuts and kill themselves and their families. The police are obviously not paid enough, they need to earn enough so that they resist the temptation to accept bribes and steal evidence or even commit crimes.
Another problem is that there is corruption and apathy all the way to the top. Jackie Selebi is our police commissioner even though he is obviously a gangster and should be in jail. Jacob Zuma wants to be our president but he is obviously guilty of corruption. If he is innocent, why is he trying to fight tooth and nail to stay out of court and have evidence squashed? What sort of example does this set for the people down the chain?
The last thing I will mention is that there is nowhere we can go to complain about the police themselves. They behave in such a bad way and yet, if you call the station commander, he/she will do nothing about it. What do you do then? Call Jacki Selebi? Hahahahaha. The other day a friend of mine had her car stolen. The first time a male policeman came around and decided he needed to look around the house. Why? That’s interesting in itself, but what made him think he should have a little ‘lie’ on her bed? Then the next day 2 cops arrive and the female officer asks if there is any cake/chocolate on offer. My friend digs out her expensive imported chocolate and the policewoman promptly takes the whole bag and puts it in her handbag and takes it with her. What is that about? They are just taking the piss. Who do you report that to? Lay a complaint and they will probably come back one night and kill you.
These days, people don’t even call the police. They call their security company. The security companies do a good job, in fact the police hire security companies to protect police stations!!
Now, I’m sure there are good, hard working cops out there and they have my respect. It must be very difficult and frustrating to work for little money and be hampered by a lack of resources, technology and backup from the judicial system. I think they should be paid more and be given the support they need. The public would be behind the police 100% if they did their job properly.
These are issues that need to be resolved soon, otherwise I don’t know where things will end up, but it won’t be pretty.