Take, for example, the attitude of police management, who it must be stated don’t take kindly to criticism. Recently, embattled national police commissioner General Riah Phiyega’s office, in response to The Citizen‘s editorial that police officers were a huge part of crime, wrote to this newspaper, accusing us of unfairly targeting the SA Police Service. But it is a reality, backed by police’s own statistics, that crime is highly prevalent within the service.
Just yesterday, The Citizen and another publication reported on incidents in which officers were implicated. In our story, we reported that police suspected there was one of their own who was leaking sensitive information to Radovan Krejcir. The latter is accused of serious crimes including a string of murders. In fact, in one case, this Czech fugitive is accused of attempted murder after he allegedly poured boiling water over the head of a man in an effort to extract information.
Worryingly, in perpetration of this brutal act, Krejcir was allegedly assisted by three officers from the East Rand organised crime unit, the very officers who were supposed to have arrested the man. Also, yesterday, it was reported that an officer was arrested after he allegedly raped a female suspect.
Police management will be quick to remind us that it is police themselves who are arresting rogue officers within their ranks. While this is true, it is a crisis when on a daily basis, police arrest their own who instead of putting criminals behind bars, have chosen to work hand-in-hand with menaces to society.
The question General Phiyega and her management team must answer is: what is it that is making so many of the officers commit crime instead of combating it?
It is a fact that crime levels within the SA Police Service have reached alarming proportions. Burying heads in the sand won’t make the crisis go away.