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Phiyega aims to restore faith in police

Published on 2012-06-29

Mandy Wiener | Today, 06:02 ENW

JOHANNESBURG - In a broad interview with Eyewitness News on Thursday, newly-appointed Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega addressed contentious issues including militarisation, specialised units, rural policing, reservists and service delivery at station level.She assured South Africans she will try to restore trust in the service which was hit by several scandals over the past two years, seeing two of Phiyega's predecessors get the axe.Phiyega said when the police's Crime Intelligence Unit is exposed in the media, it shows it has lost sight of its real purpose.“In many other countries you won’t be opening the [newspaper], hearing what is happening behind the scenes with the FBI,” said Phiyega.“We need to play our game in a manner that says we know what to do.”Phiyega hopes the appointment of Chris Ngcobo as acting head of the unit will restore stability and calm concerns among the public.“We don’t have a broken police service – we have a police service that requires to be continuously improved.”Phiyega would not comment on Bheki Cele's 'shoot to kill' policy but she said the militirisation of the police service has its merits.“If you’re fighting crime you should be seen to be fighting but at the same when you fight crime you’re saying I’m doing it with the community.“So when you fight crime you have to do it within a human rights environment.”She also responded to vocal criticism of her lack of policing experience, saying she brings other attributes to the position.“I believe any other South African, if the finger was pointing at you, would say ‘yes’. It’s not about who, it’s about what we need to do.”She concluded by confirming that she will be taking to wearing a uniform but will still wear the occasional business suit.(Edited by Clare Matthes)