A new report, entitled Broken Blue Line 2, will make every citizen of South Africa shudder with concern, for it highlights the alarming extent to which our police officers are involved in violent and serious crime.
It was launched today by the SA institute of Race Relations and AfriForum at a bizarre news conference during which representatives of the police were more active than many of the invited journalists.
Think tanker supreme Frans Cronje, the CEO of SAIRR, presented the results of the report, which confirmed 100 cases of police involvement in serious crimes – such as rapes, murder, armed robberies, and violent assaults – although there may well be hundreds, if not thousands more.
Cronje suggested that police recruits arrive in an environment infested with corrupt behaviour.
A few stats from the survey…..
- 20 of 32 murders involved the use of service pistols. 6 of 32 involved the spouse of police officer.
- 9 of 26 of the rapes occurred in police stations or police vehicles.
- Often cloned police are associated with genuine police officers, who take part in their activities.
This was the second such investigation, and Cronje said there is no evidence of any decline in police criminality. He suggested you don’t find anything on this scale, say, in the UK. We in South Africa have a systemic problem.
He insisted that police efforts to deal with the problem falls short – and suggested there must be a degree of infiltration of the police by criminal gangs. It is with good reason that the public are afraid of the police, particularly in poor communities.
Among measures suggested is a new investigative agency to identify, hunt down, prosecute and jail corrupt officers. This will be a powerful deterrent.
The news conference involved an exchange of claims between Cronje and a police representative. The SAIRR claims it tried to get the police involved from the start of the investigation, without success. This was countered by the police, who questioned the methodology of the report.
The most chilling sentence in the report highlights the extent to which the public is being let down: “Certainly women travelling alone and at night have particular reason to fear the blue lights in the rear-view mirror.” Frightening and alarming.
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