SAPS DNA backlog shows reduction.Foto:
A recent visit to the Western Cape South African Police Services’ (SAPS) by the provincial ministry of community safety and policing Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) shows that the reduction in the DNA backlog is making steady progress.
Since 24 August, when the backlog stood at 25 290 it has, as at 23 November, been reduced to 15 259. This is a reduction of 10 031 in the backlog. In fact, it means that since 1 October 2021, when the backlog stood at 89 158, the FSL has worked through 73 899 samples.
Minister of community safety and policing Reagen Allen said: “The continued manner in which the FSL is working through the backlog is encouraging. Eradicating this backlog is paramount, as these samples are vital in cases of sexual assault, murders and various other matters. The more the lab is able to address their backlog, the quicker perpetrators who are standing trial can be held accountable for their crimes. With SAPS moving a step closer to eliminating the backlog, it means that the possible secondary trauma experienced by the victims, in the judicial process, who might be waiting for an extended period for their matter to be finalised, is reduced.”
Allen added: “As much as the progress is promising, the continued backlog remains deeply concerning. The FSL should have all the required resources, equipment and relevant material so that this backlog can be eradicated by the end of this year. That there is this continued delay, is just another reason why SAPS should be devolved to a capable provincial government such as ours. Under our watch, the lab would at all times function optimally, and matters be dealt with speedily.”
“Our latest Court Watching Briefs report for the period 1 July 2022 and 30 September 2022 indicated that 208 cases were struck off the court roll due to investigations being incomplete and various other reasons. Of these, 64 (30%) were gender-based violence (GBV) matters. There are many GBV matters, such as rape, sexual assault, attempted murder and other contact crimes that are dependent on the results from the lab,” continued Minister Reagen Allen.
“I urge the scientists at this lab to swiftly work through the remaining backlog, so that they are not the cause of any secondary trauma for victims of crime. I’m looking forward to in due course receiving a further update from the lab, to ascertain what additional progress is being made,” concluded Minister Reagen Allen.
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