Weekend Witness - - Ne Ws -

PO­LICE spok es­per­son Ma­jor Thul ani Zwane said the y w ere man­dat ed t o high­light the suc cesses o f the polic e.

“By virtue o f our ap­point­ment as po­lice c om­mu­ni­ca­tion o ffi­cers, it is our dut y t o en­sur e that w e is­sue me­dia s tate­ments on polic e suc cesses.

“We do no t ha ve the c apac­ity t o is­sue a me­dia s tate­ment on e very crime that is c om­mit­ted as it will be vir­tu­ally impo ssi­ble, but will do s o when in­ci­dent s o f a pr omi­nent natur e oc­cur.

“With r egards t o me­dia en­quirie s, we e xpect jour­nalis ts t o do their o wn spade w ork as r eporters and no t e xpect us t o do their gr ound w ork. With the sheer v ol­ume o f en­quirie s on a wide r ange o f is­sue s that w e r eceive on a dail y b asis, it w ould no t be po ssi­ble f or us t o spend l arge go­ing on in t erms of crime. “It aff ects ev­ery­one.”

He said the gov­ern­ment was also to blame f or allo wing the polic e com­mu­ni­ca­tions ma­chine t o de­te­ri­o­rate t o this e xtent.

“The g overn­ment of the da y is r espon­si­ble for the in­ter­nal se­cu­rity of a coun­try. They in turn give the man­date for pre­vent­ing and in­ves­ti­gat­ing crime to the po­lice. Part of this is recog­nis­ing that the polic e can use the me­dia t o en­hance the im­age of the SAPS, but it amounts o f time on e very en­quiry , es­pe­cially when mo st jour­nalis ts de­mand a quick turn­ar ound time ,” he added.

Zwane said that r es­ources w ere ded­i­cated t o fight­ing crime and that they had al ways ende avoured t o as­sist the pr ess.

“The pri­mary func tion o f the polic e is t o fight crime and ther efore w e can­not af ford t o spend mor e man­power and r es­ources on me­dia is­sue s than w e alr eady ha ve. W e will al ways en­deav­our t o as­sis t jour­nalis ts t o the best o f our abil­i­tie s within the c on­fines o f our r es­traints.

“The g en­eral f eed­back w e g et fr om jour­nal­ists is v ery po sitive, as the y o ften c on­duct their o wn r es­earch and in­ves­ti­ga­tion be fore s eek­ing cl ar­ity or con­fir­ma­tion fr om polic e.” ap­pears that the cur­rent po­lice com­mu­ni­ca­tors do not r ecog­nise this im­por­tant as­pect. The po­lice al­ways ask the com­mu­nity to be the eyes and ears of the po­lice. How can they do this when they don’t know what’s go­ing on in their com­mu­ni­ties?”

He said he also felt it was ridicu­lous that jour­nal­ists now had to get all their crime inf or­ma­tion via the pr ovin­cial me­dia of­fice. He said a po­lice com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cial sit­ting in Dur­ban had lit­tle idea what had hap­pened at the scene

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