News24

Hawks face integrity tests

2010-06-21 08:22

Cape Town - Members of the elite police unit, the Hawks, will in future be subjected to strict "integrity tests", including tests where bribes are accepted or fraud is committed.

Anwa Dramat, chief of the Hawks, has also ordered that urine samples be taken to test members for the abuse of drugs and medication.

Officials can be asked to undergo alcohol breathalyser tests and they will regularly undergo lie detector tests.

These draft regulations, which were published in the Government Gazette on June 10, also require members to annually declare their financial interests - as well as that of their immediate family members.

Traps

The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (DPCI) officially took over from the Scorpions in July last year, in order to focus on organised and economic crimes and corruption.

At the moment it consists of approximately 2 600 specialist detectives, of whom 218 also worked as detectives for the Scorpions.

According to the draft regulations, Dramat can order any member of the Hawks or anyone else to test the integrity of members of his elite unit.

This includes occasions (traps) where members will be offered bribes, or where members will be provided with the opportunity to act unethically or break the unit's code of conduct.

Members can be tested for alcohol when they arrive for work, while they're working, or when they are on standby.

Those who refuse to submit to alcohol or drug tests may face disciplinary charges.

Officials found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol can be suspended or forced to undergo counselling and rehabilitation.

Disciplinary action

In certain instances, Dramat can order disciplinary action, transfer that member or even fire them.

Furthermore, officials who refuse to undergo lie detector tests or who fail such tests, will be forced to obtain security clearance according to the National Intelligence Act.

Musa Zondi, spokesperson for the Hawks, said on Sunday the proposed integrity tests are not out of the ordinary, and that the Police Act includes such measures.

"The government's legal advisors have studied it, as have our (the police's) legal services."

The regulations will come into effect as soon as Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has approved and signed off on the proposals.