National, provincial and local government officials as well as politicians, counselors, mayors, legislatures, SAPS officials and private sector organisations dealing with safety have been invited to attend and present at the Conference. As such I am interested to see the response to the issues that I intend to raise in my presentation – issues such as why the DNA Bill is taking so long to be reviewed; why the Portfolio Committee for Police believe that they need to embark on an overseas tour to convince themselves that DNA profiling for criminal intelligence has become the gold standard for solving crime worldwide and why the Police unions believe that private labs should not be asked to help process reference samples once the Bill has been passed.
Carte Blanche are also interviewing me at 2pm as they want to do a follow up on their last show which featured The DNA Project in August 2007 – they will hear about our National DNA Awareness Campaign, the launch of the DNA Forensic Degree at National Tertiary Institutions as well as the progression (or lack thereof!) of the DNA Bill through Parliament.
I will be updating the Blog this week with feedback in respect of all the above, so keep an eye on this space.
About the Conference:
Crime continues to be a top public concern. South African cities, notably, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban have consistently high levels of crime. As a result it remains a top priority for government. Though rates fell from 2004, this reduction has leveled off in the last 5 years. The recession could well push crime rates back up again, with some areas already experiencing increases in burglaries, knife & fire-arms related-robberies.
Community safety and the landscape in which it is conducted will also be influenced by the political debates in the coming months. The major political parties have different policy plans to reduce crime. Early indications suggest police accountability will continue to be both a controversial topic and one on which there are different proposals from the main parties.
What’s on the Program?
• Hear from the government and the main opposition parties what their key community safety commitments are
• Learn how the police can increase public confidence
• Learn how councils and other government agencies can increase public confidence
• Examine the government’s program to reduce crime and anti-social behavior
• Explore what neighborhood policing would look like over the next five years
• Attend workshops exploring a wide range of issues related to community safety and policing