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ISS: Crime will not decrease until Zuma appoints right person as commissioner

The institute's head of justice and violence prevention program, Gareth Newham says the fundamental problem with policing is political interference at the highest level.

Police tape closes off a crime scene. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG -The Institute for Security Studies says until President Jacob Zuma makes it his personal responsibility to appoint the right people to manage the police, crime will continue to increase.

The institute's head of justice and violence prevention programme, Gareth Newham, says the fundamental problem with policing is political interference at the highest level.

The 2016/2017 national crime statistics released on Tuesday show that murder has gone up by 1/8% while aggravated robbery increased by 6.4%.

Newham says the risk of being murdered in South Africa has increased by 13% compared to five years ago and there have been an additional 40,000 cases of robbery in the same time.

Newham says police have the resources because their budget has gone up by 50% in the past six years and he believes political interference is the key problem.

“The minister of police can make tough statements, he can say anything he likes but until the president makes it his personal responsibility to appoint the best possible national commissioner and allow that person to fix the police, this is not going to happen.”

Newham says as far back as 2012 when Cabinet adopted the National Development Plan, the crisis of top management in the police was identified as the single most important issue.

He says in five years the president has done little to address this.

MURDER, ROBBERY STATS 'RELIABLE'

ISS says murder and armed robbery statistics are the most reliable of the crimes report in South Africa.

The institute's Gareth Newham says these two categories are the most important when trying to determine trends in the country.

“Other categories, such as sexual offences and all the other assaults, are very unreliable because for a number of years increasing numbers of victims are not reporting those crimes. So they might be going down but that’s just because fewer victims are reporting the crimes to the police.

"So we’ve seen increases again for the fifth consecutive year in murder and in robbery, and you need to look at this as an overall trend.”

The institute says in the past five years the risk of being murdered in South Africa has increased by over 13%.

Newham says there were 3,500 more murders last year than there were five years ago.

“That turns out to 52 murders a day on average, which 42 are men, seven are women and three are children – everyday. So that is a big concern for anybody who wants to know about public safety in South Africa.”

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