The majority Parliamentary opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA) is calling on President Jacob Zuma to reconstitute specialised police units abolished in recent years.
The party says it hopes Zuma will reinstate the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) Unit as well as those dealing with vehicle theft, hijacking, serious & violent crimes as well as narcotics.
DA police spokeswoman Dianne Kohler Barnard says Deputy Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula has gone on record saying that a “specialised approach” to crime of this nature is imperative, and we believe that the time is right to announce that these units will be reconstituted.
Kohler Barnard hopes Zuma will make an announcement on the matter tomorrow in his inaugural State of the Nation address in which he will spell out his newly elected government`s programme for the next five years.
The DA shadow minister adds that a recent study by NGO Rapcan has found that the dismantling of specialised FCS units has severely hindered efforts to confront crimes against women and children.
The current situation “represents an absence of political will in government and in the SAPS in relation to the prioritisation of victims, especially in terms of crimes against women and children”, she adds.
Kohler Barnard adds police restructuring has failed to take into account the specialised nature of FCS services, “resulting in confusion and uncertainty and which consequently led to the placement of FCS staff in unsuitable positions, weakening the quality of service provided nationally.”
International best practice acknowledges, and numerous studies confirm, that these units are the most effective manner in dealing with these specialised forms of crime, she insists.
The police have countered this by saying specialist units concentrated talent, denuding police stations and the fight against crime generally of know-how. Decentralising expertise, they have argued, made more sense.