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SAPS sticks to its guns on stats

The SAPS has dismissed calls for an inquiry into the latest crime stats, saying the figures are accurate.

SAPS has no plans to change the way it calculates the annual crime stats despite claims it’s flawed. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - The police and Police Ministry have both dismissed calls for an independent inquiry into the latest crime statistics, saying it would achieve nothing as the figures are accurate.

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) on Wednesday revealed it had found a serious statistical error in the 2012/13 results which downplayed the extent to which some crime categories have increased.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega released the latest round of annual crime statistics for the 2012/2013 financial year in Pretoria in September.

The ISS says the mistake is the result of comparing different population estimates when working out ratios and crime trends.

The institute says it's simply not good enough for police to claim this is all a difference of interpretation.

But that's exactly what police spokesperson Solomon Makgale argues, saying the same method has been used for a decade.

"The argument the ISS has put forward is of no material consequence to the work that we do. We are going to continue to release the stats the way we have been doing all along."

The Police Ministry's Zweli Mnisi says they stand by the statistics.

"We don't thumbsuck population records. We utilise the data from Statistics South Africa."

But the ISS says South Africans don't have an accurate picture of the threats they face.

STATS

The latest figures show an increase in key crime categories like murder, house robberies and hijackings.

The murder category has risen for the first time in five years.

Police were also forced to defend themselves against suggestions they were trying to distract the nation from the latest results by pointing to what's been achieved over the past decade.

Burglaries and drug-related crimes have also increased in the past year.

A sharp increase in the number of protests was also an important feature of this year's statistics.

The figures showed a drop in the number of sexual offences and organised crime heists such as bank robberies and ATM bombings.

Click here for a guide to understanding the crime statistics.