No mercy for cops responsible for rapes

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Pretoria - Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has called for tough action to be taken against police officers involved in incidents of rape.

"It is unconceivable that people who have been trained on the Code of Conduct, on the principles of the Constitution would be the ones who would violate them. That is unacceptable and hence we believe arresting such police officers is not sufficient. They must be heavily convicted," he said.

In a Parliamentary Reply on Tuesday, the minister said campaigns to rid SAPS of undeserving police officers, who committed heinous crimes, would continue.

He noted that one of the initiatives aimed at addressing the "sensitive and serious issue of rape" was the re-introduction of the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Units.

The units were meant to provide assistance to victims, in addition to working with departmental divisions to ensure that perpetrators are arrested and prosecuted.

"Any reported rape by a police officer stands in direct opposite of achieving this goal," Mthethwa said.

SAPS had the investigative capacity, including manpower and infrastructure, to deal with corrupt officers, he added.

Mthethwa also urged officers not to shield their corrupt colleagues but to come forward with allegations of rape or misconduct against fellow police officers.

The minister has already asked the Civilian Secretariat for Police and the Human Resource Development of SAPS to "work on" disciplinary processes, including appeal processes.

"In the past this is one area where people who committed such acts, were either reinstated at work and in some cases got away with murder, so to speak.

"We need to ensure that those who abuse and traumatise the already victimised citizens who come to the police stations for help - that we severely punish these rapist-cops," he said.

The Independent Complaints Directorate, in particular, placed an obligation on police management not to show mercy to perceived, biased police involvement in reported cases or as a result of police action.

"Therefore, the investigative role of IPID in investigating rape by a police officer or in police custody will instil confidence in members of the public. It will further address society's frustrations and fears for their safety, knowing that police officers who transgressed will be dealt accordingly," Mthethwa said.

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