Gauteng's top cop tackles criminals
GAUTENG police commissioner Lieutenant-General Mzwandile Petros has declared war on "high-flying" criminal cops and has instructed his station commanders to identify problematic individuals in their precinct and nail them.
Speaking in Arcadia, Pretoria, Petros reviewed his performance as his department starts a new financial year.
He also said 634 officers had been arrested since September 2010.
His spokesman Brigadier Neville Malila said, of these, 272 had exhausted the police internal process and had been fired.
He said 95 officers were dismissed for fraud and corruption, 59 for theft or being found in the possession of stolen goods, 47 for serious crimes like murder and rape, 25 for defeating the ends of justice and 46 officers were fired for ill-discipline like sleeping or drinking while on duty.
"Murder, house robberies and hijackings were the crimes before. Now the trend is abusing state vehicles and being drunk on duty," Petros said.
He said ATM bombings in Gauteng were on the rise as police had managed to curb cash-in-transit heists.
"[Also] On the rise is bank followings when people draw large amounts of money," Petros said. He said he was working with banks to ensure clients were alert.
He said commanding 41,000 officers to ensure the safety of 13 million Gauteng residents was "a big event every day".
"Last year was the year of the detectives [having added to and improved their training and supplied additional vehicles]. This year we are targeting people who are known to be problematic individuals in particular policing precincts.
"Our police stations must set targets and do everything to legally neutralise these people. That means locking them up and getting successful convictions.
"Each police precinct must identify [at least one person]. We have declared that this year we will focus on this," said Petros.
He said he was disturbed by incidents of police brutality but in the same breath said the public should refrain from hurling abuse at officers performing their duties.
He said he too had been victim of such behaviour and had to restrain himself - something he said would prove difficult for a younger, less experienced officer.
Petros said he was not keen on task teams to fight particular crimes as skills were lost and continuity disturbed when the team was dismantled.
He said he preferred a strategy where detectives at local stations were able to deal with big crimes.
Petros committed to strengthen and build on Gauteng's 127 community policing forums (CPF).