Negligent cops - dept taps into pensions
Mbombela - Any police officer whose negligent actions cost the state money in civil claims will be expected to pay part of the claim from their own pocket.
Some Mpumalanga cops have already learnt the hard way. Upon retirement, they discovered that the state had recovered some of the legal costs from their retirement funds.
"Yes, pension funds are being affected, but that is not the only action we take against an officer who is found guilty.
"There are internal disciplinary actions that may lead to the officer losing his/her job or being sentenced by the court," said police ministry spokesperson Zweli Mnisi on Tuesday.
Mnisi said negligence was unacceptable within police ranks.
He said the minister’s office had given station commanders across the country a mandate to curb lawlessness amongst their police officers.
"We decided that principles need to be upheld from the ground, which is at the police stations, where station commanders and senior leaders need to always intensify respect for human rights.
"When police do their work they must work in line with the constitution of the country," said Mnisi.
Last year November, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa told parliament that the state had lost more than R100m in legal costs involving civil claims.
"A total amount of R106 239 616.81 was paid in legal costs as a result of 8 074 civil claims brought against the [police] for the 2010/11 financial year," said Mthethwa.
"Payment of legal costs is not linked to a particular police station but if an officer is sued for whatever act of misconduct, it is the state that suffers financially and we cannot allow such things to become norm."
Independent Complaints Directorate spokesperson Moses Dlamini said in the 2010/2011 financial year more than 6 000 cases reported against police officers were completed.
"In the more than 6 000 cases we completed most of them were attempted murder and assault," said Dlamini.
He further said that while police are allowed to use force, they should do so with caution.
"We know that police are allowed to use force in order to enforce the law, but the force used must be proportional to the circumstances taking place,” said Dlamini.