Minister Nathi Mthethwa commends South African Police Service (SAPS) Forensics Turn-Around Strategy
21 Nov 2012
Additional 800 forensic analysts to be employed within 2012/13 financial year
“One of the fundamental components of the criminal justice system is ensuring that evidence that is presented before a court of law, is accurate and can enable police to secure convictions. Central to the collection and analysis of such evidence, is ensuring that the SAPS forensic science laboratories are effectively capacitated and effective,” stated the Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa today.
He was responding to a Parliamentary question on how many cases were brought to the South African Police Service (SAPS) Forensic Science Laboratories (FSL) from 2009 to date and how many are still outstanding in respect of each of these years.
“In 2009/10 207 660 entries were received at the SAPS Forensic Science Laboratories. In 2010/11 the number of entries received increased by 26% to 260 826. The number of entries received in 2011/12 increased by an additional 23% to 320 729. Between 1 April and 30 September 2012, they received 209 431 entries, which is a 67% increase in comparison to the same period in the previous financial year,” stated the Minister.
The substantial increase in the number of exhibits submitted to the FSL since 1 April 2009 to date is evident of the increased confidence that the investigating officers have in the ability of the Forensic Services to contribute to the investigation of crime and bring perpetrators to book.
“The increase is going to be addressed through the employment of additional 800 forensic analysts within the current financial year. As police leadership, we are encouraged by the progress attained thus far. This progress can, inter alia, be attributed to the modernised systems, coupled with adequately-equipped human capital which ultimately resulted in improved turn-around time in terms of processing forensic case work.”
“We can also contribute the improvement of this division to better collaboration with the Division: Detectives in strengthening the ability of the investigators to establish and provide the link between the crime scene and the suspect. In addition the aggressive commencement and execution of Forensic Awareness Programs in the previous financial year to frontline officers enhanced their understanding of what exactly it is that Forensic Services can do in supporting the investigation of crime to ultimately increase the conviction rate,” highlighted Minister Mthethwa.
Minister Mthethwa highlighted that over the past few years, there were unsatisfactory reports around how courts could not finalise cases on the court roll, including the reasons for postponement of cases in criminal courts and all these were attributed to the forensic delays.
“However we are now beginning to experience a positive turn-around strategy. What becomes important is to ensure that we sustain these best practices, continue to capacitate this division and ensure that it continues to become an additional arsenal in the fight against crime.”
The forensic laboratories compliment the ministry’s focus around smarter policing and our engagement with the criminal justice system revamp process. “The environment of science itself implies that for any conviction there has to be empirical evidence because in a court of law, word of mouth does not necessarily guarantee convictions,” concluded the Minister.
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Issued by: South African Police Service
21 Nov 2012
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