Police suffer exodus of detectives

2014-10-15 17:55
(File: News24)

(File: News24)

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Cape Town - The police service has suffered an exodus of 1 200 detectives in the past financial year, Lieutenant General Vineshkumar Moonoo told Parliament's portfolio committee on police on Wednesday.

Moonoo, the country's top detective, said of that figure, 1 060 left the police service while the rest were transferred to other branches.

"It places a strain on the staff that are left because you have to carry on with the cases," he told reporters on the sidelines of the briefing.

"You get replacements but the replacements have to be trained."

Moonoo said the departure of many detectives was as a result of misperceptions about impending changes to pension regulations.

"This year we had a lot due to the misunderstanding about the new pension act. People thought they were going to be losing money and it is not so."

National police commissioner Riah Phiyega told the committee the police had asked National Treasury for funding for an additional 386 detective posts.

Of those, 168 would be hired in the current financial year. Phiyega told the committee that any perception that the police service was "losing the war against crime" - as FF Plus MP Pieter Groenewald put it - was unfounded.

"I do not believe that we are losing the war," she said, adding that there had been an improvement in the past year in dealing with the 20 categories of serious crimes.

"Crime being what it is, some things will always go up and down but ultimately I think it is not a battle this country is totally losing."

Moonoo agreed, but conceded that the police were losing certain battles.

"We are not where we want to be yet... We lost certain fields but we have not lost the war yet."

The department of police's annual report tabled in Parliament last month confirmed that the police service failed to meet targets on reducing the incidence of serious crimes, contact crimes and trio crimes.

The report indicated that the police's average reaction time to complaints about serious crimes in progress was 19 minutes and two seconds, which exceeded the set target of 19 minutes and five seconds.

But briefing documentation distributed at the meeting suggested this was not necessarily reliable. It noted that the police suffered from "ineffective leadership at station and provincial level" and that one result of this was that the reaction time to complaints could not be verified "due to pocket books not being updated".

Moonoo said he was dissatisfied with a marked failure to report back to complainants about the status of investigations and would spend November "away from my desk" and at police stations around the country to ensure officers followed proper procedure.

Read more on:    police  |  ff plus  |  riah phiyega  |  pieter groenewald  |  cape town  |  parliament 2014

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