SAPS looks at cold case teams and a crime-detection academy for SA

Cold case investigation teams across SA and the setting up of a crime-detection academy could be on the cards as police look at ways to tighten the noose around criminals and clamp down on crime.

A cold case is an unresolved criminal investigation that remains open.

At a crime detection conference in Pretoria on Wednesday, National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole announced that the SA Police Service (SAPS) was looking into establishing the cold case teams and the academy.

He said the teams would fall under the SAPS' provincial investigation units.

Sitole added that the conference, which hosted detectives as well as intelligence and forensic services officials, signalled an appreciation of the police's challenges in detecting crime and their strategic collaborations with intelligence, forensics and other crime-detection components.

"Our gathering intended resolutions that will address the challenges in resolving cases and putting behind bars those who terrorise our communities," Sitole said. 

"It cannot be that we continue to have excessive [numbers] of cases which are not finalised, particularly if this is due to our own shortcomings. It cannot be that we neglect communicating with our clients on what has transpired with their cases."

Resolutions

Some of the other resolutions taken at the conference included that tracking units should fall under detective services to optimise the tracking of wanted suspects, and that uniform inquiry and investigative units be re-established to alleviate the burden on detectives who carry too many dockets.

He said they also identified a need to enhance the capability of the Detective Service Centre (DSC) and noted challenges experienced in providing feedback on cases opened. 

"Therefore, we have identified a need to develop a national instruction (containing a standardised reporting template) on providing feedback to complainants."

Sitole mentioned the provision of timelines, saying that an investigation should be completed in 72 hours and that senior officers should visit all scenes in cases involving serious and violent crimes.

"They (citizens) are crying out for our help and we have a constitutional obligation to them to make South Africa a safer country to live in. We have a responsibility to demonstrate in deeds our commitment to a safer nation," Sitole concluded.

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