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Johannesburg - The under-reporting of crime is not unique to South Africa, the police ministry said on Wednesday.
This was actually a global problem, ministry spokesman Zweli Mnisi said in a statement.
“In South Africa, we are concerned when we hear reports that crime victims do not report crimes and would urge them not to remain silent.”
He said the ministry was trying to reverse the trend.
“Over the past three years we began to review some of the inhibiting factors which may, inevitably, lead to members of society not reporting crime,” Mnisi said.
“Crime does not simply disappear; we must create conditions that will make crime disappear. This requires a concerted, united action by all South Africans.”
The ministry was reacting to a survey by the SA Institute of Race Relations that found that more than 3.3 million crimes occur per year and half of them are not reported.
It said, according to data from Statistics SA, around 1.7m crimes (52 percent) were not reported to the police in 2011.
Mnisi said the ministry had emphasised that policing must not be seen as a favour to society, but rather a mandate.
“Based on this, society has legitimate expectations that police in their entirety will treat them with courtesy and respect and they must.”
He said the ministry had adopted a multifaceted approach to improve the police.
The first approach was a review of the criminal justice system.
“This speaks to tightening the roles of all players, whether one looks at this value-chain from police, justice, corrections right up to home affairs,” Mnisi said.
“For this reason, in dealing with some of the allegations of police brutality, we began to strengthen the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, precisely to ensure that police do not abuse their powers as they carry out their mandate.”
It was also improving the system of policing, strengthening detective services and increasing the capacity of forensics.
The ministry was working on greater command and control, co-ordination, and communication within the police. - Sapa