New disciplinary unit to deal with police misconduct

2015-07-14 18:00

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Cape Town - A new national disciplinary trial unit to deal with misconduct within police ranks will soon be launched.

The SA Police Services’ national head office is in the process of recruiting members to run the division, which will be “capacitated by people whose integrity is beyond reproach, have been vetted and are not facing any criminal or disciplinary proceedings”, police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said in a statement.

The police are often criticised for their handling of disciplinary issues, specifically the lack of consistency and the length of some disciplinary proceedings, he said.

“The impact of this is two-fold. Firstly, the image of the SAPS is grossly affected because the confidence of the public in police is eroded. 

“Secondly, if police officers are suspended with pay, this raises the question of unnecessary or wasteful financial implications,” Naidoo said.

The formation of the unit was approved by national police commissioner General Riah Phiyega and is “in line with the police’s strategic plan for 2014-2019, [with the] primary aim to modernise issues of dealing with disciplinary cases”.

Phiyega said: "We are confident that this unit will firstly serve to speedily finalise departmental cases, and secondly serve as a huge deterrent to any potential wrongdoers within our ranks." 

All disciplinary sanctions would be standardised, Naidoo explained, meaning that the sanctions for identical offenses would carry the same punishment. 

“It will also reduce risks associated with handling serious crimes as the new members of the unit will not deal with serious misconduct from within the provinces they are residing in.”

The recruits for the unit would be sourced from the ranks of lieutenant to colonel, he said. Candidates would have to have some experience in investigations, have a background in human resources, labour relations or law, coupled with labour law as one of the subjects. 

The aim is to manage discipline in a sustainable and consistent manner, Naidoo said.

“This will be rolled out as a pilot project for a year to see if it is effective or not.”

Read more on:    police  |  riah phiyega

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