‘Police recruitment needs tightening’

2013-06-28 00:00

CENTRAL to transforming the South African Police Service (SAPS) would be to tighten up recruitment criteria, a public forum debating the future of the police heard yesterday.

The forum was part of a nationwide “consultative process” by the Civilian Secretariat for Police (CSfP) to discuss the Green Paper on Policing. The document could, if eventually passed into legislation, fundamentally change how the SAPS is structured and it is the first major policy discussion on the police since 1998.

At the forum, attended by just 35 people representing various government structures in the justice, crime prevention and security clusters, it became clear that the police service needs to define clearer paths for its staff and potential new recruits.

The chief director of the CSfP policy and research unit, Bilkis Omar, told The Witness the forum was resolute that the police service needs regular training to be kept up to date with the changing policing environment.

“… Part of the consultation process is to talk about the possibility of a two-stream service where police employees can either head in a managerial direction or stay with crime prevention …”

Omar said the CSfP, established in 1996, sits in Pretoria within the Ministry of Police, initially to oversee the transformation of the service and look after the police’s reputation. It has since moved into creating policy and monitoring and evaluation.

“The idea of transformation has vastly changed since 1996 where it was largely demographic and gender based. The transformation we are now looking at is much broader and encompasses professionalising the service and greater transparency,” said Omar.

She said the green paper should be finished by the end of the year before being written into a white paper, which is a precursor to it eventually forming the basis of new legislation.

A document provided to the floor stipulated the need for policing to meet the National Development Plan Vision 2030, which requires the police to be “well resourced, professional and highly skilled”.

The KZN consultation did not discuss a single police force, which if enacted, could see the Durban Metro Police, as well as several other metro police services countrywide, amalgamated into the SAPS. This has proved controversial at some consultations.

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