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Maybe Bheki Cele was right all along: SAIIR

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There could be a significant drop in crimes like home robberies and carjacking if police leadership followed the example of former police commissioner Bheki Cele, the SA Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) said on Tuesday.

SAIRR crime analyst Kerwin Lebone told News24 following the release of the 2014/15 crime statistics that better crime intelligence was needed to decrease incidents of aggravated robbery.

“It is true that for social fabric crimes like murder rape and assault there are societal factors… [and] police cannot be everywhere all the time. Crimes such as murder happen in private closed spaces where people know each other,” he said.

“However with aggravated robbery, the most important thing is that crime intelligence needs to intervene beforehand.

“Cele had the intelligence to go and stop the crime syndicates.”

The SAIRR said last week that from 1994/95 to 2013/14, Cele had the best record in armed robbery figures over the other commissioners.

Cele’s era coincided with the global financial crises, yet he managed to drive the aggravated robbery levels down.

SAIRR CEO Frans Cronje told reporters in Johannesburg on Thursday: “Maybe he [Cele] had the right approach all along?”

Lebone said that following Cele removal, there was a lot of instability in the police force with acting commissioner Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi and current commissioner Riah Phiyega.

“That instability is bound to affect the morale of the SAPS foot soldiers,” he said.

“Cele boosted their morale.”

Lebone said that while we have been winning the war against crime, some gains were beginning to be reversed.

According to the statistics released on Tuesday, carjacking increased by 14.2 % to 12 773 cases, while robbery at residential premises increased by 5.2 % to 20 281.

Lebone said these were some of the crimes that South Africans feared the most.

He said however that there was a “small comfort” that despite increases in some crimes, we were still far away from the 2002/03 financial year where crimes peaked. News24

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