Cops must take the heat - Cele

2011-02-05 00:00

ULUNDI — Recruits must be trained in “natural surroundings” — rain or shine — because after training they should catch criminals and not seek out the shade of a tree.

This was police commissioner General Bheki Cele’s opinion when he visited the training centre in Ulundi yesterday.

The centre made the headlines earlier this week when the fair Chantelle Young, a female recruit, suffered sunstroke and severe facial swelling three days into her training, this after she had to do fitness exercises in the hot sun all day with shorn hair.

The hair of 140 recruits, men and women, were shorn down to the scalp upon their arrival at the centre.

The recruits were again not wearing any hats when Cele addressed them on the parade ground. The members of staff wear hats as part of their uniform. Cele said this is to differentiate the recruits from qualified police officers. In the eighties, recruits had to wear peak caps as part of their uniform.

Cele said police management will reconsider wearing of hats “if it seems necessary”.

He said it was not the police’s standing policy to shave women’s hair and this practice does not happen in any training facility in the country.

The officer who ordered the female recruits’ hair to be cut has been “removed” and disciplinary steps will be considered when the investigation is completed.

Cele told the recruits they have joined “an organisation of excellence”, adding that if they thought they could take chances in this team, they should “take their stuff and leave on the spot”.

He warned the recruits that they will change their uniforms for prison garb if they abused their positions.

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