MINISTER MTHETHWA INSTRUCTS POLICE INSPECTORATE TO NOW MONITOR FIREARM CONTROLS
Emphasis is now on stricter control and efficient allocation of firearms to police
In its efforts of improving firearm controls and curbing firearm losses by police officers, the Ministry of Police is adopting and implementing multi-faceted approaches. One of the latest announcements is that the Police Inspectorate (a unit that investigates and ensures that all instructions are adhered to and implemented) will now closely monitor firearm management of the SAPS.
The Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa today reiterated that the area of proper firearm control remains one of his priority focal areas and that to achieve this; the ministry constantly explores new measures. He was responding during an oral reply to a Parliamentary question posed by Rev. Kenneth Meshoe, leader of the ACDP around various SAPS’ firearm control measures.
“In addition to various corrective measures which we are currently implementing, I have instructed the police management to ensure that each time a police officer loses his or her firearm, there must be a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding the loss. To this end, I have now instructed that the Police Inspectorate be tasked with the responsibility of conducting such investigations.”
“We are also looking into a situation where no further firearm can be issued to a SAPS member pending the outcome of a thorough investigation by the Inspectorate. This investigation could lead to criminal charges and or dismissal from the SAPS as well as the person being declared incompetent to carry a firearm,” he added.
Minister Mthethwa told Parliament that 1 497 police officers who lost their firearms since 2005 have been issued with new firearms. When a police member loses an official SAPS firearm, he or she must apply in terms of Standing Order (Stores) 48 for a new firearm to be issued on his or her personal inventory. Also, a firearm from the station inventory may be issued to the member if he/she complies with the prescribed criteria in terms of competency and fitness. The commander of the station/unit under whose command the member serves must then evaluate the application before a firearm permit may be issued to the member. The commander must take the prescribed criteria as well as the circumstances of the loss of a previous firearm issued to the member into consideration, before he or she makes a decision on the matter.
Commenting on remedial measures has the Ministry has put in place to correct this violation of firearm safety at various police stations, the Minister said there is now constant inspections, assessments and interventions taking place, within the various levels of command to ensure proactive deterrence.
“Unless we begin to zoom into the issue of firearm safety, both by police and civilians, we will still be faced with a challenge of legally-registered firearms falling into the wrong hands of the criminals. That is precisely why we are looking, on a daily basis, at measures to improve this area. We need to know where our firearms are, who is in charge of them and under what circumstances are they being utilised,” added the Minister.
The Firearms Control Act, 2000 (Act 60 of 2000) regulates, prescribes for effective control and safekeeping of firearms and ammunition. Furthermore, all transgressing personnel are subjected to the disciplinary regulations of the SAPS.
For enquiries, please contact:
Zweli Mnisi, Spokesperson to the Minister and Deputy Minister of Police 082 045 4024