World class fingerprint investigation system worthless without ink

Bobby Stevenson MPL

Spokesperson on Safety and Security

The world class Automotive Fingerprint Investigation System (AFIS) is a worthless tool if the most basic tools of the trade, namely fingerprints, cannot be taken by police. Reports of shortages of fingerprint ink at police stations in the province are alarming and a serious indication of poor management of the criminal justice system.

I have today tabled a question for written reply to the MEC for Safety and Liaison, Helen Sauls-August, for the details about the shortage of the ink, the reasons and when the situation will be corrected. In a reply to a written question the MEC stated that the SAPS AFIS, “the latest technology in the world”, was used in 22 988 crime scene prints, which identified 814 649 persons during the period April 2012 to December 2013. While these numbers are welcomed, the shortage of ink for taking fingerprints makes the whole system useless and impacts negatively on the arrest and prosecution of criminals.

The Eastern Cape continued to have the highest murder ratio in the country according to the SAPS crime statistics for 2011-2012. Robberies at non-residential premises had increased by 31% and robberies at residential premises by 12%. Car hijackings were up by 22%. These three crimes in particular strike fear into the hearts of people and need to be brought down. This means our fingerprint system needs to work.

Unless we embrace world class policing tactics we will never reduce crime to acceptable levels in our society. I call on the MEC to intervene and correct this matter as a matter of urgency.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *