A Free State police constable has been arrested for conspiracy to commit a robbery.
The 34-year-old officer is expected to appear in the Bloemfontein Magistrates’ Court on charges of corruption, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and theft, according to Warrant Officer Lynda Steyn.
“On Tuesday afternoon, she met with the agents who were to rob the protection and security services and said she needed money,” Steyn told News24 on Thursday.
Police Crime Intelligence and the Hawks conducted an entrapment exercise in order to expose the officer.
“The suspect conspired with police undercover agents to go rob police members who were on night duty at the JOC (Joint Operations Centre) of the protection and security services (PSS),” Steyn said.
Fake robbery trap
Members of the Hawks faked a robbery after the constable handed them her service pistol to conduct the crime.
“During the entrapment, the member was paid R30 000 after the fake robbery for firearms robbed from the PSS offices, and then she was arrested,” said Steyn.
SAPS is engaged in a long battle against corruption among its members.
Former police minister Nathi Mthethwa revealed in 2013 that an audit had found that 1 448 police members had criminal records.
The Institute for Security Studies said that, in the five years up to 2011/2012, only 2 576 prosecutions and 129 convictions had resulted from 11 880 criminal cases opened against police members.
“The single most likely outcome of a case against the police is no outcome,” said ISS Governance, Crime and Justice Division head Gareth Newham.
According to Transparency International’s report on police corruption, there is no “one size fits all” solution to fighting police corruption, but the organization advises that political will is key.
“States that are serious about reducing and containing police corruption must commit to a long-term approach,” read the report.
Steyn said that the police had acted on information from Crime Intelligence regarding the constable.
“We want to get the message out to stop police corruption.”
Two R5 rifles, two magazines with 96 rounds of ammunition, and four 9mm pistols with 11 magazines and 165 rounds of ammunition were seized from the PSS.
“We seized those weapons to see if they have been used in other crimes,” said Steyn.
Free State Hawks head Major General Kubandran Moodley hailed the quick operation.
Steyn warned that weapons stolen from the police could end up in the hands of criminals.
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