Police Minister Bheki Cele (left) and national police commissioner Khehla Sitole at a media briefing following the release of the 2017/18 crime statistics. Photo: Chantall Presence / African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - National police commissioner Khehla Sitole says policing colleges, currently operating on a 70% intake, will take students to fill all vacant spots as murder across the country reached a 10-year high and crimes against women and children continued to spike.

The crime statistics for 2017/2018 released on Tuesday painted a grim picture overall, with 57 people killed a day on average.

Sitole said while the population had grown over the past 10 years by nearly three million people, the number of police officers had dwindled to about 10 000 fewer than the country had in 2010.

“Our colleges have the capacity for 7000 students at a time. This year we could afford to take 3000, but reallocated money so we could take 5 000. Next year, colleges will take 7 000 to close the gap,” Sitole said.

Police Minister Bheki Cele conceded that the country had failed at meeting the UN’s police/resident ratio of 1:200, as the country currently stood at 1:383.

Cele said while South Africa was not a “lawless state”, residents “would not see these figures again”.

“Crimes has reached a maximum, and it won’t go beyond this. Next year, we will take 7000 students at the college, and raise the training of tactical responses,” Cele said.

In the Western Cape, the issue of policing was also impacted by inaccessibility to reach parts of some areas, Cele said, as a result of spatial designs.

“The province has a problem of environmental design that needs to be fixed,” Cele said.

The Western Cape had 10 of the worst 30 murder stations, followed by Gauteng with nine, then KZN with six and the Eastern Cape with five.

In total, the stations contributed 4124, or 20%, of the murders to the national total.

Nationally, 20336 murders were committed over the past year, with the Western Cape showing the biggest increase.

At a 12.6% increase, there were 3729 murders in the province over the past year - 418 more than the previous year.

Nationally, 3915 women and children were killed, and the breakdown of that figure shows in the Western Cape that 370 women, 60 girls and 219 boys were killed. Assault grievous bodily harm and common assault showed slight decreases with the former falling from 170616 reported cases in 2016/2017, to 167352 nationally this past year.

Common assault cases dropped from 156450 in 2016/2017, to 156243.

National domestic-related crime stats broken down; physical abuse made up 67.3%, at 762 incidents reported.

Emotional, verbal and psychological abuse came in second at 220 cases, followed by damage to property with 193, economic abuse with 140 cases, and 96 of intimidation reported.

Carjacking in the Western Cape also decreased, with 19 fewer accidents than the previous year.

Cape Times