THE POLICE HIT B ACK
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