'Violent protests diverting police resources'

Gauteng top cop Mzwandile Petros says officers should be focusing on mall robberies & ATM bombings.

Gauteng Commissioner Mzwandile Petros. Picture: Taurai Maduna/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng Police Commissioner Mzwandile Petros on Tuesday said increasing violent protest action is diverting police resources.

He made the comments while presenting the Gauteng crime report to the provincial legislature's Community Safety Committee.

The 2011/2012 statistics showed a 5.9 percent drop in all crimes in the province, except for theft from motor vehicles.

According to Petros, crime figures would have dropped more had it not been for a 37 percent increase in protest action.

"The resources that we've been using, both the metro police and South African Police Service, get diverted to deal with protests. At this time of the year, we should be deploying people to shopping centres."

The police commissioner said officials should rather be focusing on mall robberies and ATM bombings over the festive season.

He added violent protests are preventing officers from carrying out their duties effectively.