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Cape Town - The DA has called on national police commissioner General Riah Phiyega to take immediate action and dismiss police officers who are still on the beat despite having criminal records.
The DA spokeswoman on policing, Dianne Kohler Barnard, also called on Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to publicly apologise for employing criminals.
Last week, an audit conducted to find out how many officers with criminal records still worked in the force revealed that 1 448 officers had criminal records.
It was later revealed that 568 of the 1 448, were guilty of multiple and serious offences.
“The national police commissioner… must take immediate action and dismiss the criminal police officers from the SAPS, as she is empowered to in terms of section 36 of the SAPS Act,” Kohler Barnard said.
The breakdown of the crimes reveal that 54 police members have records for murder, 116 for attempted murder, 37 for rape, 33 for attempted rape and 917 have records of assault.
Most of the officers were convicted after joining the service, and none had yet been dismissed.
She added that the police were entrusted with preventing, combating and preventing crime and it “is imperative the people entrusted with this duty are not criminals themselves”.
“It must also be noted that for reasons unknown the audit of police criminality only went up until the end of 2009.
“The figures could, and the DA believes, would be much higher if continued to 2012.
“In 2010/11, 2 154 members were criminally charged, only 869 were suspended and only 520 dismissed from the service.”
Last year and in 2011, more than 1 300 police members were charged with murder, rape, armed robbery or corruption.
“Are those who were convicted still working within the SAPS? If this audit is anything to go by, there is a strong possibility that this is the case.”
Kohler Barnard said the results were “beyond shameful” and that Mthethwa should publicly apologise to South Africans for allowing convicted criminals to be armed, dangerous and promoted to high ranks at the expense of taxpayers.