The police’s Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit has reported a drastic increase in the number of life sentences handed to offenders.
In the previous financial year, the unit secured 541 life sentences for sexual offences, a significant improvement on the 167 life sentences in the 2010/11 financial year.
This came out during the Cell C Take a Girl Child to Work campaign where the South African Police Service hosted 200 girls from various disadvantaged high schools at the police academy in Pretoria yesterday.
Deputy National Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Bonang Mgwenya said members at police stations were trained to ensure sexual offence cases were treated with seriousness since the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act of 1998.
“The South African Police has the responsibility to protect the vulnerable in society, but let us be honest, we cannot be in every household and behind every closed door,” she said.
The excited young girls, between grades 10 and 12, were given an opportunity to see what members in blue do on a daily basis. Police K9 Unit demonstrated how detection dogs were used in serious crime scenes to bring criminals to book.
Officers attached to the mount division illustrated the obedience of patrol horses while the public order police unit offered an action-packed re-enactment of controlling violent protests.
Mgwenya said SAPS developed the interesting programme to ensure the girls had a full understanding of the police service to take an informed decision in their future career choices.
Through the Women’s Network, the police seek to to mentor promising, committed, bright young women and ensure that doors to all components and units in the police service remain open to all, she said.
“It remains important that those of us who have worked hard and been given opportunities, not only support one another, but also pave the way for those younger women aspiring to better their lives and those of their children.”