Police Minister Bheki Cele says plans to increase Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Units are underway as police announced an increase in reported sexual offences.
The Minister said this in a media briefing after releasing the annual crime statistics in Parliament on Thursday.
“Plans to increase the number of Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) Units countrywide and to recruit and train more women officers to work in this specialised environment are underway.
“To further fight the scourge of violence against women, we heeded President Ramaphosa’s call to reopen investigation of all cold cases of gender-based crimes in the country,” he said.
This as Major General Norman Sekhukhune told the Portfolio Committee on Police police recorded 52 420 sexual offences between April 2018 and March 2019, up by 2 312 compared to the previous financial year.
The Minister said FCS units continue to be one of the best in the SA Police Service, with the fundamenntal responsibility to protect and serve women, children and vulnerable groups.
“The FCS has 185 units to deal with gender-based violence including sexual offences. In the 2018/19 financial year, the FCS recorded 658 life sentences out of 504 registered cases. It is through highly specialised investigative work that 387 suspects were sentenced to 20 years and above,” he said.
Sexual offences against children on the rise
Briefing MPs earlier, Sekhukhune said of the 52 420 sexual offence cases, 41 583 were rape, 7 437 were sexual assault. He said police recorded 2 146 cases of attempted sexual offences.
“Sexual offences against children have increased by 899,” he said.
According to the crime statistics, a provincial analysis shows sexual offences increased in most provinces, while two provinces reported a drop in cases in this category.
Mpumalanga recorded an increase of 8.5% to 3 470, while there was a 7.9% increase in cases in the Eastern Cape.
Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal recorded increases of 6.3%, while the Free State, Limpopo and Northern Cape recorded increases in sexual offence cases of 5.3%, 5.1% and 2.6% respectively.
The Western Cape and the North West provinces recorded decreases in the number of sexual offence cases, by 0.5% and 3.8% respectively.
The top five police stations where sexual offences were reported are Inanda, Umlazi, Thohoyandou, Lusikisiki and Nyanga.