Global fight against crime must be stepped up - Mthethwa

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pretoria - Governments need to intensify their approach in fighting crime if they are to outwit criminals who are constantly changing their tactics, says Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

Speaking at the meeting of SADC Chiefs of Police Sub-Committee of the Inter-State, Defence and Security Committee in Pretoria on Thursday, the minister noted that while there have been technological advances, criminals have diversified and improved their tactics.

To combat this, governments needed a multi-thronged approach and needed to be ahead technologically and operationally, he said.

"...We need to intensify our global approach in the fight against crime and criminality in general. It cannot be that crime syndicates remain [more] sophisticated than law enforcement authorities the world over. We need, as a matter of urgency, to begin to enhance our ability to monitor and analyse information related to specific areas of activity and criminal organisations," Mthethwa added.

The minister also highlighted the need to strengthen cooperation with international law enforcement agencies, saying it was through information sharing and cooperation that a blow could be dealt to crime syndicates.

"We further recognise and clearly understand that the task of keeping our respective countries and our region safe cannot be achieved if we operate in silos. That is why a multi-pronged approach in the fight against crime, underpinned by the involvement of the communities we serve, is the only and most effective solution to eradicating crime," he said.

Mthethwa noted the dangers terrorism posed and reaffirmed South Africa's commitment to working with other countries to ensure that the war against terrorism was intensified. Transnational crime was also high on the agenda.

"Progress is noted daily [whereby] through cooperation, we are beginning to see arrests of crime syndicates. We, however, believe that more still needs to be done in this area. The agreements that have been signed must now translate into actions and become even more vigorous and fully implemented," he said.

One of the crucial issues facing the world was that of drug trade. Mthethwa said it was becoming increasingly clear that more attention needed to be paid to the drug kingpins.

"What we need to begin to do is, as police and society, channel our energies around the destruction of these global syndicates. While we focus on the sniffers, the 'big bosses' are smiling all the way, without any remorse or care of how much damage they are causing," he pointed out.

The minister called on the meeting to also look into issues of cross border cooperation and illegal mining.

Mthethwa reminded member states at the meeting that they had a duty to take decisions that would improve economic emancipation, growth and stability of the region and world.