War on cyber crime - Mthethwa

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pretoria - Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has vowed to intensify the fight against Internet crimes that target children.

"We are increasingly worried about incidents of children being abused, murdered and vow to deal with this negative scourge holistically.

"As government we have prioritised crime against women and children and one of the proactive steps we undertook is the re-introduction of the specialised units to focus on crimes against women and children," he said on Tuesday.

Mthethwa's remarks come two weeks after government announced the development of an integrated and technology-based approach to combating cyber crime, including increased capabilities of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster to address this growing phenomenon.

The draft Cyber Crime Policy, which was gazetted on 19 February, has been open for public comment. Thereafter it will be revised and an integrated document shall be finalised before the end of this year.

The Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences capacity is currently at station level in all provinces but these units will be re-established nationally and all funded posts will be filled by 1 June 2010, he said.

Mthethwa reiterated that while police will continue to spearhead in dealing a deadly blow to this scourge, society also has a critical role to play.

"We appeal to parents to actively play a role in their children's safety, particularly monitor whom they chat and socialise with. As police on the other hand we will have to intensify our efforts in apprehending these cold-blooded criminals," he said.

The Ministry, he said, is currently interacting with the UK Home Office to further devise various mechanisms, best practices and information sharing in dealing with the abuse of women and children.

He said there are similar challenges facing the two countries and through information sharing, South Africa can benefit immensely in defeating these crimes.

This co-operation follows the engagements between the two ministries as part of the recent presidential visit to the UK.

Statistics within the department further indicate a detection rate of 40 and 42 percent for sexual offences and assault against women and children.

"It needs to be noted that this is internationally considered a difficult type of crime to detect. This is largely due to the reluctance of victims to face their perpetrator and because often this type of crime occurs between known acquaintances," he said.

The minister said a practical step to empower police officers to effectively deal with these cases will focus on training around investigating offences emanating from incidents of domestic violence.
Domestic violence train-the-trainer courses are also presented at national level during each training cycle to enhance and replenish the trainer capacity of the provinces to present the domestic violence course in the Act.

In addition to the domestic violence course, training has also been included in the Basic Training Learning Programme since 2004, and all new police recruits are trained in the Domestic Violence Act during their basic training before they are deployed to police stations.