The South African Police Service (SAPS) asserts that if police constantly combat the illicit sale and consumption of alcohol in communities, the SAPS can strengthen its efforts to combat crime and make communities safer.
According to a SAPS statement, alcohol plays a major role in violence and is a major crime driver in South Africa.
“According to the latest released crime statistics, there were 4 635 liquor-related crimes reported to the SAPS between April to June 2023.
In three months, 247 murders and 1 143 rapes took place either at a bar, club, tavern or a shebeen. A staggering 3 147 cases of assault GBH took place at a liquor outlet,” read the statement
On Friday, Police Minister Bheki Cele joined the KwaZulu- Natal leg of Operation Shanela, where police in the eThekwini Metro, amongst other operations, conducted raids targeting illegal liquor outlets.
Cele noted with displeasure and great concern the amount of resistance from communities during police raids and closures of unlicensed liquor outlets.
“It’s a fact! Alcohol is a major driver of crime in communities and police are under instruction to enforce the law and shut down illegal liquor hangouts and bring the owners to book. While this might be seen as a low-hanging fruit or ‘easy target’ for the police, for us; prevention will always be better than cure, police must continue to target and shut down these unlicensed liquor outlets who sell to underage customers, operate for hours on end without impunity and dismally fail to ensure the safety of their customers when alcohol fuelled fights break-out or vulnerable customers are targeted by criminals.
“Such outlets are a menace to society and to policing and will not be tolerated.” said Cele.
The statement further said that Operation Shanela KZN saw high-density operations in Durban and other identified crime hot-spots in the eThekwini metro.
“Police acted on intelligence and conducted crime prevention raids, executed warrants of arrests and conducted disruptive operations removing firearms and other dangerous weapons off the streets.
Countrywide, Operation Shanela has since inception in May 2023, resulted in the arrest of over 155 thousand suspected criminals and the high density operations continue each week in all provinces,” said the SAPS statement