The Democratic Alliance (DA) can reveal that only 16.1% of police stations have enough officers to meet the UN recommended police to citizen ratio which is 1:220. This information was contained in a reply to a parliamentary question.
Even more harrowing is the fact that some local police stations suffer incredibly disproportionate ratios of police officers mandated to protect the people within their jurisdiction.
For example, the police to citizen ratio at the Flagstaff police station in the Eastern Cape is 1 police officer per 2236 people or 1:2236, while the Mashashane and Nebo South African Police Service (SAPS) stations have to operate in communities where the ratios are 1:2121 and 1:2107 respectively.
These conditions only serve to increase crime levels in our communities and results in low levels of visible policing, low investigative capacities and insufficient intelligence services to combat crime.
The national crime statistics released last week identified the top 30 police stations recording the highest levels of contact crime, which include sexual assault and murder. If SAPS leadership knows which stations record the highest levels of crime, we expect those stations to be provided with the resources needed to effectively bring down these high levels of crime.
However, this is not the case. The top 10 police stations recording the highest levels of contact crimes also have some of the highest police to citizen ratios.
The table below paints a disturbing picture of how few police officers are allocated, and therefore on hand, to fight unacceptably high levels of crime, especially sexual assault and murder.
|Position||Station Name||Police to Citizen Ratio||Contact Crime Cases||Difference from 2017/2018 to 2018/2019|
These numbers show why we are losing battle against crime and why people, especially women and children, are not safe.
As a starting point, the DA will request that the Minister of Police prioritizes more officers on duty over weekends, as more than 60% of murders occur between Friday and Monday morning. This is a targeted approach which is doable with the current human resource constraints.
The DA has also called on the Minister of Police to urgently prioritize the training and deployment of reservists to assist in closing the gap between citizens and police officers. In 2010 there were more than 63 000 reservists in the country and today there are less than 9 000.
The reality is that the national government is failing to properly capacitate the SAPS to fulfill their mandate of protecting the people of South Africa. These shocking statistics, which mask the very real human cost of crime, shows the stark reality on the ground and certainly contributes to why we cannot bring down crime rates.
It is time that the ANC government takes real action and allocates the resources needed to fight crime and keep our people safe.
Andrew Whitfield MP
DA Shadow Minister of Police
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