Cops to get more psychological help
Pretoria - Psychological services need to be boosted within the SA Police Service to ensure members can fully carry out their duties, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said on Tuesday.
To ensure this happens, Mthethwa has tasked SAPS management to provide him with a full action plan before the end of the current financial year, detailing recommendations of how to do exactly that.
"The plan will have clear targets, time frames and retention strategy to assist police morale," said Mthethwa in his response to a parliamentary question on the actual and optimal number of police psychologists employed by the SAPS in each province in the past five years.
"It is common knowledge that police operate under tremendous conditions and the stress levels are often very high... We need to have police officers who are not only physically fit, but psychologically and mentally stable."
He emphasised the risk in isolating the psychological aspects, adding that recommendations received would be speedily implemented.
Recent analysis conducted in the department indicates that Gauteng has the highest number of psychologists at 161, followed by KwaZulu-Natal at 136, and the third being the Western Cape at 106.
His spokesperson Zweli Mnisi said this was not entirely surprising as previous research showed that almost 70% of crime in South Africa took place in these three provinces.
The North West province had the least psychologists, at 61.
Mnisi said this could be attributed to among others a decrease in crimes or to certain extents, career moves by the psychologists to other attractive offers - both locally and internationally.