Members of the South African Police Services (SAPS) who successfully fight crime and make arrests need to be rewarded, says Safety and Security Minister Nathi Mthethwa.
Speaking at the opening of the two-day Anti-Crime Conference in Midrand on Tuesday, Mr Mthethwa said: "Police officers who are excelling in their work need to be rewarded in order to keep their momentum of fighting crime."
He added that government strategies targeting bad behaviour and corruption within the service needed to be developed more.
Government is concerned at the high levels of crime such as rape and street robbery, said the minister, adding that violent organised crime such as ATM bombings still remained a challenge.
Police statistics released in October reveal that 344 suspects were arrested by the SAPS Organised Crime Unit in the period between July and September 2008 and a further 43 suspects were arrested for cash-in-transit robberies and 17 suspects for ATM bombings.
However, government is committed to fighting against crime through partnerships with all community stakeholders in order to make South Africa a crime free country.
Mr Mthethwa also urged South Africans to refrain from protecting wrongdoers.
The anti-crime conference is aimed at improving the police's service delivery in the short and medium term by identifying gaps, consolidating existing operational partnerships and building a measurable accountability system between the partners among others
The conference, being attended by representatives of various congregations and traditional leaders, will end on Tuesday.
Government has set a target of reducing crime by between 7-10 percent a year. However, government has had challenges in meeting these targets. The Presidency's 15-year Review released last month, pointed to an upward trend in violent crimes and a below-target pace of decline in serious crimes. - BuaNews