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Cape Town - If you’ve called the police in an emergency and expect them to arrive rapidly, don’t hold your breath.
It takes Western Cape police almost 15 minutes – 14 minutes and 48 seconds – to respond to crimes in progress. The target response time is 13 minutes and 10 seconds.
But that 15 minutes is a lot better than the national average of almost 19 minutes to respond to crimes in progress, and just under 22 and a half minutes to react to crimes that have already occurred, according to the 260-page police 2012/13 report.
The report also revealed that about 900 police officers were charged with fraud and corruption in the past financial year, but only 22 had been suspended from service.
Almost 98 percent of officers under investigation on these charges were still on active duty.
Eight officers were suspended with full pay, and 14 without.
“The investigation of allegations of fraud and corruption involving SAPS members includes both a criminal and a departmental investigation,” the report said.
The report also revealed that 97 of those accused of fraud and corruption had multiple cases against them.
Parliamentary police committee chairwoman Annelize van Wyk said police would answer MPs’ questions later this month.
“They will have to explain where they’ve underachieved. Disciplinary action against police officers is still a concern. We are not satisfied.”
It emerged that only 29 percent of the 9.1 million calls made to the 10111 number between April last year and March this year were police-related.
More than 6.47 million of the calls were hoaxes, nuisance and abusive calls, emergency services inquiries or “other matters requiring a service to the public”, said the report.
The annual report also showed that while the police had more than enough bulletproof vests for each of its just more than 197 000 employees – from the national commissioner to its civilian staff – one in five of these vests languished in the store at police headquarters in Pretoria.
The report did not state whether every police officer had been issued with such protective gear.
The report recorded that 3 156 officers were found guilty of offences ranging from being asleep or drunk on duty to committing a statutory offence.
This comes against last month’s reversal of the appointment of Major-General Bethuel Mondi Zuma as Gauteng’s new provincial police commissioner after it was discovered that he faced charges of, among other things, drunk driving.
That bungle came after it emerged before the parliamentary police committee that 1 448 officers had criminal records, of which most – 1 132 – were gained while in police service. The police’s audit of its employees dates back only to 2010.
Referring to police charged with crimes, DA MP and police spokeswoman Dianne Kohler Barnard said: “It is these few police members that tarnish the reputation of the thousands of hard-working and disciplined police officers who put their lives at risk daily to protect and serve South Africa.
“All criminality within the police must be rooted out,” she added.