Pretoria - Criminals will face the full might of the law this festive season, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa warned on Thursday.
Responding to questions in Parliament, the minister said this will be a "dry and broke" season for criminals, as they have identified a strategy to combat the rise of bombings of automated teller machines (ATMs), among others.
The strategy entails the establishment of provincial task teams to specifically focus on combating and investigating ATM bombings. Since the implementation of the strategy, the police have succeeded significantly in reducing ATM attacks and the figures for the first six months of this financial year show a decline of 17%.
"If they think this is going to be a festive season, well how wrong they are because I have instructed police to have no mercy on these scoundrels. This will be a mourning season for them and we shall ensure that we become vicious in thwarting their actions," Mthethwa told Parliament.
Meanwhile, the minister further reiterated that the SAPS shall continue to ensure it trains more specialised detectives as well as upskilling investigators.
He highlighted that although the recent crime statistics indicated a downward trend, particularly in relation to murder, more still needed to be done in ensuring that those arrested received harsher convictions.
"We need to strive for more convictions around the murder cases, which will not only show how serious we are about dealing with this scourge, but equally cement society's trust in the police."
To achieve this, Mthethwa said they will upskill detectives at both entry level and during the course of their investigations.
The minister added that detective training was an ongoing process.
A total of 1 384 detectives will be trained in the 2011/12 financial year; 1 731 detectives will be trained in the 2012/13 financial year and 1 730 in the 2013/14 financial year. Furthermore, the department budgeted a total of R16.2 million for detective training in the 2011/12 financial year.