SAPS must clean house

The South African Police Service (SAPS) comes in for much criticism, and often correctly so.

Poor service, inefficiency, corruption and criminality within the SAPS appear to be widespread.

While there are rotten apples, there are also many men and women in blue who are hardworking and committed and they are the ones who need our support.

The rotten apples must be rooted out. Not tomorrow, today!

It is most worrying when one hears of cops involved with criminal syndicates.

Just recently, a source told me how some SAPS members even escort hijacked cars to "safe spots" allegedly using marked vehicles.

This is now the subject of a high-level police probe. Let's hope that the criminals in uniform are arrested speedily, prosecuted and convicted.

Communities have a pivotal role to play to fight crime. Tip-offs work. Just last week, the suspected Diepsloot murderer was arrested within hours of an identikit being made public.

Someone, somewhere, somehow knew something of the suspect and passed on information that led to his arrest.

Thanks to the many anonymous tips, almost 32,000 suspected drug dealers were arrested in Gauteng alone since June 21. Communities are increasingly blowing the whistle on wrongdoing. This culture must continue.

National Police Commissioner General Riah Phiyega says service delivery at police station level is now a top priority. It's about time!

Phiyega herself has had a turbulent year as our top cop. But I still believe she must be given a chance.

Time will tell whether Phiyega succeeds or not.

The SAPS needs to improve service at every level - from the minute you call 10111 to response time, taking of statements, investigations and court proceedings.

We must not allow the bad cops to get away with it. These criminals are not only bringing the SAPS into disrepute, but our country.

Blue light gangs are active - and irrespective of whether they are real police officers or fakes, the SAPS must get them behind bars.

Police recently arrested a suspect in Gauteng linked to the cloned police vehicle gang. He was released within days despite the fact that he was positively connected to the gang. Something is seriously wrong somewhere.

Gangs following people from the airport are active again. Scores of cases have been reported in Johannesburg recently. Let's hope the criminals are arrested without delay.

We cannot allow the lawlessness to continue.

Communities must stand up and assist the police. Partnerships at all levels are crucial. We must all hold hands and fight crime.

The weekend saw the houses of at least eight criminals being torched in Sebokeng in the Vaal Triangle.

Last week, shops of foreigners were looted in Diepsloot following the murder of two children.

This must stop.

Communities must ensure that they work within the framework of the law.

"Jungle justice" or "street justice" will lead to more anarchy.

We need a professional and efficient police service.

Public trust in the SAPS is at an all-time low. The police leadership must move swiftly and get its house in order.

Now is the time.

Yusuf Abramjee is Head of News and Current Affairs at Primedia Broadcasting and also Head of Crime Line. He writes in his personal capacity.

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