Joburg Metro cop shortage hits Soweto hardest

Khume Ramulifho MPL DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Education The Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) currently only has 65% of the police officers it requires to optimally fight crime in the metro. With just over 4.4 million people in Johannesburg according to Census 2011, there is effectively one metro cop for every 1 500 people in the greater Johannesburg area. According to the JMPD, it needs 4 550 metro police officers, but currently only has 2 965: a shortage of 1 585, or 35%. Gauteng Community Safety MEC Nonhlanhla Mazibuko’s full response to my question can be accessed here. The figures look even worse for Johannesburg’s Region D, which covers the greater Soweto area, where almost 1.7 million people share 291 officers at the one station allocated to the entire region. This represents only 16% of the 1 791 optimal number of officers for Soweto. Every inhabitant of Soweto therefore shares a metro cop with 5 824 others. This is a highly unacceptable ratio undermining the crime prevention efforts of the police and communities in the most populous region of the Johannesburg metro. Unfortunately the JMPD has indicated that its desire to increase the number of officers in Soweto has been hampered by budget constraints in the council. Crime prevention, specifically through visible policing, is one of the key functions of the metro police in terms of section 64E(c) of the South African Police Service Act (No 68 of 1995). Visible policing is only effective if there are enough adequately trained and equipped on-duty officers to be visible to deter criminals and limit opportunities to commit crime. I will submit follow up questions to the MEC for a detailed breakdown of the allocation of officers to each region in Johannesburg. I will also request that the DA Johannesburg caucus pursue this matter with Executive Mayor Parks Tau. The fight against rampant violent and contact crime in Johannesburg is a priority for the DA and a cornerstone of our offering to the people of Gauteng. A well trained, properly equipped and highly mobile metro police service is absolutely critical in the fight against crime in Johannesburg.

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