Communities will help select cops – Cele

2010-11-29 12:57

Communities will have a greater say in who will become a police officer, and those who get approval will face stricter entrance criteria and spend double the amount of time in training.

Recruitment would take place at station level, rather than at a provincial level, as had been the case in the past, national police commissioner Bheki Cele said in Pretoria today.

People were better placed to pick out the “scoundrels” in their communities and prevent them from joining the police force. Those selected would face more stringent entrance criteria.

They would have to be South African citizens, between the ages of 18 and 30, be in possession of a Grade 12 certificate or equivalent qualification, be able to speak, read and write English as well as one of the other 10 official languages, be fit mentally and physically, have no convictions or pending criminal proceedings, have no visible tattoos and be of sober character.

Cele said too often in the past those who had failed to find work elsewhere joined the police force as a last career move.

“The screening process will involve communities in ensuring that we attract the right calibre of recruits in joining the police. The potential recruits will now be subjected to a raft of screening background checks, including compulsory rigorous vetting to avoid enlisting applicants with pending criminal cases,” said Cele.

“We want to be very anchored in the communities.”

Community policing forums and church groups would be involved in the selection process, together with recruitment officers.

Those who did make the cut would have to train for two years before they could be called police officers.

Instead of two batches of recruits every year, there would only be one group, which would start training in January.

Historically, officers would train for six months at a police college and have another six months field training.

Cele said officers would now have to spend one year at a police college and another year undergoing field training.

The recruitment process was already under way.

The first recruits under “The People’s Cop, from the Community, for the Country” programme would begin training in January 2011.

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