Information scant on SA’s most wanted criminals
Graeme Hosken And Jan Bornman | 2017-06-11 16:26:20.0
Image by: Saps via Facebook
The South African Police Service wants you to help identify‚ locate and catch them‚ but they cannot or will not provide details on who the country’s most violent criminals are.
Despite repeated requests over nearly three months for the photographs and details of South Africa’s most wanted criminals‚ police have failed to respond.
Police spokesman‚ Brigadier Vish Naidoo said in April that some of the information which he had been provided by the SAPS national detective services was “inadequate”.
He could not explain why those at the detective services had only provided limited information‚ which included photographs of some suspects‚ but no details of their crimes‚ or names but no photographs.
The Times through a search of Interpol’s most wanted list has established that SA police are searching for one South African internationally. There are six South African citizens wanted by other countries.
It is however uncertain how updated the information on Interpol’s website it.
A search of the police website reveals that there are just under 100 people who are wanted for various crimes across South Africa. These crimes range from fraud to bribery‚ possession of stolen property and murder. It is‚ however‚ also not known how up to date the list is‚ or whether any of those on the list have been arrested‚ with nearly half of those mentioned‚ listed with unknown identities. The list also has poor identikit sketches and low quality photographs.
Attempts by The Times to establish from the different provincial police headquarters who the most wanted criminals were in each province also failed.
Limpopo‚ North West and KwaZulu-Natal police said they would refer queries about the province’s most wanted criminals to their media departments‚ but by publication no information had been provided.
Gauteng provincial police were only able to provide one photograph‚ and information about the crimes the suspect allegedly committed.
The Western Cape‚ Eastern Cape‚ Northern Cape‚ Mpumalanga and Free State police officials failed to respond to queries.
Dr Johan Burger‚ of the Institute for Security Studies’ Crime and Justice Programme‚ said the police definitely knew who their most wanted criminals were.
“They know who they are looking for. I think we should rather ask why the police don’t want to give out that information.
“The police can definitely not afford to create the perception that they don’t have access to that information.”
Unisa criminologist‚ Professor Rudolph Zinn‚ said he could not think of a reason why the police would not want to share such information.
“Worldwide the basis of successful policing is based on the relationship between the police and the community. The police will be able to get information about wanted suspects if the community knows who they are looking for.”