Police Minister Natghi Nhleko briefs media after visiting Gauteng police management at the Provincial Head office in Parktown, Johannesburg. Picture: Antoine de Ras, 19/08/2014

Johannesburg - Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko has made some lofty promises about how his department will be combating crime, but failed to provide any concrete plans.

He was speaking in one of his first major media appearances since his appointment.

On Tuesday, Nhleko met top police management officials from across Gauteng to determine the major problems officers in the province faced daily.

After a morning of interacting with the heads of dozens of police stations and departments within the SAPS, reporters hoped for a staunch “state of the province-esque” reportback on how he would improve on his predecessor’s work.

But, rather than addressing the major crime problems in the province, Nhleko opened the floor to about a dozen questions from journalists before the conference came to an end.

Asked about the spate of child-related crimes in Gauteng, Nhleko said he would know only after the crime statistics were released next month whether there had been a significant increase in such incidents.

Contact crimes against vulnerable groups such as women, children and the elderly were “extremely worrying”, he said.

The SAPS would focus on mobilising communities to improve relations between police and citizens, as well as encourage the public to help provide information on such heinous crimes, Nhleko said.

He added that officers would be receiving training to help in their conduct with the public over sensitive crimes.

Nhleko said that equally important was an integrated, holistic approach from numerous government departments within the justice sector to combat crime.

“The disturbing trend of police killings is a major concern for my department, and the shooting incident at the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court has indicated that this is something to focus on.”

Nhleko said the protection of those working and visiting police stations and the courts was a “relevant question” that was still being discussed.

Asked whether he would have to make a decision on whether President Jacob Zuma should be held accountable for spending of taxpayers’ money on Nkandla, Nhleko said Parliament was still dealing with the matter.

Only after the parliamentary committee had dealt with the Nkandla reports and made its recommendations and resolutions, would he be asked to make a decision if there was a need, he added.

On new training and equipment for police officers, especially those in public order policing, Nhleko did not say if he would need a bigger budget for his department.

The SAPS was coping with its current budget, he added.

Nhleko is scheduled to meet the police management in all the other provinces in the near future.

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The Star