As crime levels in South Africa continue to increase, motorists apparently don’t even trust police.
A recent police indicator survey conducted by Action Society revealed that 92% of motorists feel unsafe when the police pull them over.
Since some criminals use police uniforms as a disguise to commit crimes, data from the survey also showed that motorists feel unsure if they are pulled over by members of the police.
The director of community safety at Action Society Ian Cameron said the police are becoming a trojan horse for criminals looking to neutralise any form of trust that citizens might have left in the country’s criminal justice system.
It is also not uncommon for traffic officers to demand ‘cold drink’ bribes from motorists when they pull them over, with the survey indicating that 50% of drivers have experienced this.
The survey also showed that more than 75% of police officers do not introduce themselves when they pull over the driver.
“At a time when bogus police and criminal cops terrorise innocent citizens more than ever, these statistics emphasise the dire need for police reform in South Africa,” said Cameron.
Cameron suggested these solutions
- Do a skills audit in the SAPS to determine the merit of appointments and sack members not appointed on merit.
- Polygraph all members – starting with leadership – to determine whether they have been involved in any corrupt activities; if so, sack them.
- Restore crime intelligence capabilities.
- Reinstate specialised units that can effectively deal with serious violent crime without having to live in the community where they work.
- Crime kingpins, including those with state connections, must be targeted and taken out of operation.
- Restore reservist capabilities, specifically to support specialised units. It is of utmost importance that these reservists do not come from the said communities for intimidation to be limited.
- Pay police members properly.
- Implement police devolution in the Western Cape as a proof of concept.
“In the latest quarterly crime statistics released by the SAPS, kidnapping was spoken of as especially worrying, with more than 37 kidnappings reported per day, or more than 1 000 per month. Considering the threat that fake police or criminal SAPS members may hold to possible kidnapping victims, the trust indicator data paints a very dark picture for the future,” added Cameron.