Cops told to think out of the box

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police_badge_may 28 INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

Cape Town - The police need to embrace information technology and start thinking out of the box, a senior ANC MP said on Thursday.

Acting police portfolio committee chairwoman Annelize van Wyk said a lack of modernisation was severely hampering the SA Police Service, specifically its detective branches.

She suggested police management form partnerships with institutions to solve the problems they experienced in concluding cases.

“We are saying there are... experts that can give technological solutions to many of these challenges.”

Van Wyk was briefing reporters after a workshop on the state of the detective service. She said a change of attitude was needed.

“The culture that they (the police) have currently is almost a culture of 'we know the answers to everything'.”

She challenged police management to get up from behind their desks and seek solutions.

“What we said about specialised training... when you look at cyber crime, there are institutions like banks that focus on this and there's nothing stopping (the) SAPS from having a partnership with these institutions.

“Why not have a police officer, hoping to become a cyber crime detective, work within the institution (bank) and being trained in that way?”

Van Wyk said many solutions to detectives' problems could be bought off the shelf.

“One of the issues is why are they (SAPS) buying digital cameras and cellphones, when you can have one solution, one cellphone and camera in one, which can e-mail directly to the criminal records centre. You could even have fingerprints taken on some devices.”

On the language barrier preventing detectives from taking down statements properly, Van Wyk proposed a national call centre, staffed by interpreters, which officers could access. - Sapa


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