More cops not the answer, ISS says

2012-10-16 22:29

Cape Town - The country needs fewer, better paid police officers to fight crime effectively, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) said on Tuesday.

Swelling police numbers over the past few years was not necessarily having the desired impact, ISS crime and justice programme head Gareth Newham told Parliament's portfolio committee on police.

"We are not of the view that the reduction of police numbers over the next few years is a bad thing because you really do want to have fewer, better paid, more professional police officers than much larger numbers of people you can't control."

Newham was briefing MPs on the SA Police Service annual report.

He said the massive hiring approach in SAPS since 2002 was as a result of communities wanting to see more visible policing.

"There's a lot of political pressure to do this [hiring] and that's not unusual in countries experiencing high crime rates."

Newham said there were various problems that stemmed from creating so many new posts.

"You [are] recruiting around 19 000 people a year and it means the ability to vet those people, to select the right ones, weakens... "

He said the increase in the number of shift commanders did not lead to better management.

"The less of that command control you have, the less professional ethos, and it's easier for people to get corrupt and do things for their own gains."

This created perceptions that police were generally corrupt and officers could not be trusted, Newham said.

"For every one police officer that is corrupt it creates a bad impression among 100 civilians."

He said studies were needed into why, despite bad pay and working conditions, some officers remained true to the profession.

"I'm more amazed at how many police officers are not corrupt given the conditions they work under and how easy it is to be corrupt, but they're not."

Newham said stamping out corruption had to start at the top and the SAPS needed a no-nonsense approach when it came to holding their most senior officials accountable.

"When police look up and they're looking for guidance and they see people misleading commissions of inquiry or whatever, and no action is taken against them... that sends out a very strong message that it's not about how professional you are, it's about who you know and how connected you are...."

This led to a police culture where people protected each other, refused to take action against their corrupt colleagues, and bent the rules.

Newham said in the end it was about telling police they were doing a crucial job, paying them well, and reminding them that they were professionals.

  • ChristelleJames - 2012-10-16 22:53

    They certainly need to be trained better too. Our forces are simply not up to standard....and they have to deal with some of the worst crimes possible.

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-10-16 23:38

      How do you train a police force for the irrational and (at least) temporarily insane?

      beverly.young3 - 2012-10-17 07:28

      In their training, they only go for ??? 6 months? That in itself is the fault. These people are in charge of law, order and out on earth can they perform with only 6 months training, even a year if I have the time frame wrong. Unfortunately, the police services, like nursing, is seen as a top job, with all the perks.

      jason.children - 2012-10-17 08:37

      Beverly the six months should be used to get into shape, learn the law and become proficient in arrest procedures, firearms and self defense. The rest comes from experience that you only learn on the job. But putting two inexperienced constables together is not the answer. Young rookies straight out of college should be working with hardened veterans who can show them what works on the street. teach them and mentor them.

  • joemarshe.push - 2012-10-16 22:54

    Bring back the death penalty as well !

      beverly.young3 - 2012-10-17 07:32

      I disagree, as much as at times I am as emotive as you are being.

      fumanekile.ralane - 2012-10-17 10:03

      Yes death penalty so that they can think twice!

  • John - 2012-10-16 23:03

    WE do not need any POLICY ENFORCING THUGS called POLICE OFFICERS! WE need well trained PEACE OFFICERS! There is a vast difference!

  • lacrimose.wolf - 2012-10-16 23:05

    Laws have become an abstract in our country, in our society (no matter which strata we occupy). So I cannot concur. We need more and more visible policing. We need to get back to a place where people are actually afraid of breaking the law - any law. From driving with one hand, littering, allowing your dogs to bark for 3 hrs, to stealing public funds and executing politicians in front of television cameras. We're a society riddled with poor impulse control and a gargantuan sense of self-entitlement. Time for some visible and consistent enforcement.

      ChristelleJames - 2012-10-16 23:08

      Spot on!!!

      jason.children - 2012-10-17 08:53

      More and more visible policing is NOT the answer! These police cars and vans you see patrolling with their bright blue light shining on their roof have about as much impact on crime as my dead grandmother. What we need is proud officers who have the tactical training that gives them the edge over the criminals. Guys who dont want the criminals to see them all the way down the road. guys who actually want to catch the guys in the act of breaking into your car. Dropping a partner off on a corner and driving out the area so the partner can catch them stealing a car. Active policing is required. Not this window dressing "here we all are in our brightly lit cars" Sorry but that doesnt work.

      fumanekile.ralane - 2012-10-17 10:01

      How can they be scared couse inside they can eat,watch ds,get education,smoke when they wnt,gym,they have cellfones,they call prison 5 star hotels!

  • phahla.matwa - 2012-10-16 23:07

    I dnt get this

      ChristelleJames - 2012-10-16 23:10

      Phahla, we cannot throw more money and resources at the problems in SA. It's like taking pills for the symptoms, but not curing the cause of the pain.

  • tiaan.truter - 2012-10-16 23:23

    Ww have so much criminals out there and now you want less police men...i mean really now.Rather tell your corrupt president that he must give some of hes money that hes using on hes zumaville and give it to the SAPS so that they can train them properly.Plus since Zuma lets the criminals free there will always be crime.

  • Simphiwe Spijo Nxumalo - 2012-10-16 23:42

    well as a police officer I would say he is spot on even though we need more police officers since the number of the population is increasing and so as crime they must just reduce the number police officers protecting the VIPs and the national key points and re inforce visible policing as for training yes it is true it is not enuf continous physical and field training is needed on Pierre point of race well I wuld say where I am working most of the top management is White so it is a matter of equality the other thing is the Saps must stop appointing Civilians for top management posts well the pay grade is peanuts yes but if u're passionate abt your job that can not drive u to be corrupt anyway to some of the officers it is just a matter of making money and getting paid at the end of the month passion is not there....hope the committe will take these analysis serious

      buwaz - 2012-10-17 00:16

      U have said it all,this shows all those ppl commenting abt police while they r not one,for this I give u a bells

      JOHNY63 - 2012-10-17 04:32

      I think you get many good cops for the few corrupt ones. But the point is the renumeration is poor. I won't do that job for that pay.

      Jaap - 2012-10-17 07:09

      Spijo, I agree with your comment. My son is also in the Police reaction unit and the abuse you people endure is not known by the general public. I respect and salute you. All Policemen are not rotten.

      cindy.wrathex.ruthven - 2012-10-17 07:37

      Good and intensive training of police persons is vital and it is gratifying to hear that this fact is being realised. It starts with recruitment though. Any person applying to become an officer of the law, should be well screened and definitely not have any history of criminal activity of any sort. Mental and physical attributes needed for the job of law enforcement should also be looked at. Obese, slow and physically sluggish officers of the law is a disgrace, we need fit officers. If you can't get out of your vehicle fast enough or run even 10 meters to catch a fleeing criminal, then you are not fit to be a police person. Sharp, observant and hard working detectives will have a huge impact on solving crimes, get rid of the mentally incapable that are tarnishing these good policemen. Clean up the police force, I agree that multitudes of sluggish officers does not equal quality policing. Bring back high standards and stick by them. Stop shaming those officers that are honest and hard working and do their best to serve their country.

  • simon.shee - 2012-10-16 23:42

    Well trained Policemen led by incorruptible Officers who arrest criminals and deliver them to a justice system that is functional and honest. Is it too much to ask for?

  • buwaz - 2012-10-17 00:22

    Spot on mr newham better pay,clean corruption from the top, well equipped vehicle bcoz u can't chase golf 6 wit Nissan bakkie,appoint police officer to b the general(commissioner),politics away frm police and more on justice system

      johann.enslin.9 - 2012-10-17 00:32


      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-10-17 01:08

      How about also better behaved people? What is up with all of us that we think we're OK disrespecting every law and the Constitution just because "it doesn't apply to me". Our very sense of 'specialness' is why we are where we are now.

  • terrancebalfour - 2012-10-17 01:31

    You are so right Mr Gareth Newham..Security Guards are more reliable than most Policeman/woman today and unfortunately Colour does count when you enter a Police Station or have a complaint.. it is an effort to get any assistance today..

  • mammudi.makgaleng.3 - 2012-10-17 02:22

    Am not surprised when officers are corrupt. What can be done in a situation where you risk your life to arrest criminals and later they walk free as innocent people. Its about time you toughen controls there. My advise deny bail for cases like Jub Jub, death cases in general, drugs, rape, and all sensitive cases. Let the thugs stay behind bars until their judgment day. This will help deter the current problems SAPS\r\n\r\n.

      beverly.young3 - 2012-10-17 07:39

      hmmmmmmm, is corruption then not a crime? The very 'enforcers' if you will, who commit crimes? e.g. perlemoen poaching, drugs, bribes etc... They have a job to do, not to judge the outcome? just saying

  • Nape Nape - 2012-10-17 04:14

    Is so, so easy for a police to be corrupt, if police officers don't get enough payment and no enough increase per year they simply go get it from corrupt activities. A hungry cat will never just stand next to the milk and look @ the milk

      terrancebalfour - 2012-10-17 05:14

      @Nape Nape..I am afraid you don't know what you are talking about..I was a Murder and Robbery Detective in the 1980'S until early 2000 and we (SAP) were the lowest paid Government Officials and rest assure those days you did not hear about corrupted cops..I am not saying there were none but were far and between, not like today where it seems as it has become second nature to be corrupt..

      fumanekile.ralane - 2012-10-17 09:01

      Most of police officers are friends with drug dealers,if they get drugs,they set a thug free and go sell it to their buddies,so crime rate will never get down!

  • Muffin_man_can - 2012-10-17 05:21

    Finally they see the light! One should not become a policeman because you can't find a job, it's a calling. Selection criteria needs to be toughened up and cops need to go for regular re- evaluation to sharpen up their skills and fitness, and then give them the salary they deserve.

  • rhett.deklerk - 2012-10-17 05:52

    It's all just talk; end result will be swollen ranks with no/minimal pay begging for corruption spread further as it was part of a sick plan.

  • eduard.marais.5 - 2012-10-17 06:01

    The SAPS is just one more way for the ANC to eventually give jobs to every (black) citizen. The civil service has also increased at the same rate as the SAPS. Guess what, it is not sustainable. The African Spring is coming nearer .....

      terrence.schwartz.1 - 2012-10-17 07:38

      The ANC Police, as opposed to the term the media love to use, old Apartheid Police.

      mosa.mothoalo - 2012-10-17 13:02

      No white people can work for SAPS cause we are under payed,and our training is difficult,white people resign at the colleges before completing the course!

  • nikiwe.forbes - 2012-10-17 06:33

    spot on,i know alot of cops who are bieng bribed where im from,but it useless to report them,

  • tc.convulvulous - 2012-10-17 06:38

    FACT IS.. Despite significantly increasing the number of police, crime has not decreased. Going back to Mbeki-era, when police numbers increased, the crime increased, which raised more worrying questions! So the truth is, fewer police of better quality will be better.

  • mike.mike.7140497 - 2012-10-17 07:08

    @pierre is correct. These people are the most lazy people you have ever met. They are fat, stupid and have no idea about policing. They cannot speak or write English which is the main language of this country. They cannot even shoot straight.

      David Mabaso - 2012-10-17 08:06

      @Mike.The SAPS needs people like you,who think they are smart.

      fumanekile.ralane - 2012-10-17 08:51

      I'm 100% agree with u my friend,I stay here in western cape site B, most of the police are so fat,big tummies,if u need help at the police station they are busy on social networks,eating while he/shes taking statement,loughing so loud,driving or collecting their girlfriend at school,univesities,college with these state vehicles,I would like to be the police officer one day couse I like to protect the community.

      mosa.mothoalo - 2012-10-17 12:56

      English is not our Language,

  • arthur.salvado - 2012-10-17 07:19

    Reduce the police force and increase the criminal element. Oh , they in many instances, are criminals already. Anyone want to hire a gun ? Etc. no solution but bigger pay. Ouch

  • ken.koen - 2012-10-17 07:36

    Rubbish. you can pay them as much as you like and it wont mean a thing. Politicians and executives in this country are ridiculously overpaid, and theyre still corrupt, and white collar crime is rife. Policing is a vocation, and policemen should be dedicated, intelligent and mentally and morally suitable to be entrusted with law enforcement. The biggest problem facing the police agencies is a lack of sound selection and appointment policy, followed by a total lack of discipline and law enforcement within the police services themselves. the Metro police being the most notorious, with absolute psychopaths and criminals in uniform. Added to this the country suffers further from a justice system that is also pathetically inefficient and corrupt. The police can make all the arrests they can, but it is futile if the courts are simoly going to release murderers, rapists and robbers on bail, or serve suspended or light sentences. There are many good policemen, as mentioned in the article, and they should be retained and maintained, and promoted, instead of politically appointing comrades as "generals" At the end of the day, nothing will improve, at least not for many many years, as this is a juvenile "democracy" out on a spree of misguided "freedom".

      beverly.young3 - 2012-10-17 07:46

      Well said. Strangely there are countries in the world that are crime NewZealnd, as an example, there is so little crime, the police stations in many areas are closed for the weekends!! sorry about the typos....I am het up

      sandiso.saso - 2012-10-17 08:55

      U rite abt appointment of comrades, yes the problem is that these police are demotivated bcoz of promotions, the policy used 4 promotion. They always say u mst hv experience when u apply bt they (government) takes some1 who is nt from the police 2 b a National Commissioner, where is the experience? Money wise : a new police earns the same salary as the police who have served 4 many years, u find out a clerck @ the municipality earns more than a Constable, who is @ risk? How can these man n woman be motivated?

  • Ze Don - 2012-10-17 07:40

    The problem doesn't only lie with the police. Our judicial system is slow and to be honest ineffective. We need hard labour to be brought back and made standard punishment. We also need the death penalty reinstated for violent crimes. A repeat offender should also not be released ever again.

      beverly.young3 - 2012-10-17 07:47

      Oy have you seen the 'chicken eating' magistrates? I have in the Transkei....truly, sitting on his perch eating One with an ipod in his ear.....astounding.

  • David Mabaso - 2012-10-17 07:57

    The population is growing daily therefore we need more cops in the country.As an employee in the SAPS i feel that i am overworked and less paid. no wonder why white people do not want to be cops.Gone are the days when being a cop was a calling. Most of the cops where white during the apartheid era because they wanted to protect what they thought was theirs. Influential political appointments are failing the SAPS.

  • quartus.vanzyl - 2012-10-17 07:58

    it is not about race per se. it is about employing the right people. not every person in the country is suitable to be employed as a cop.

  • Sandile Bhoma Ka Nduli - 2012-10-17 08:15

    Cops are scared to face the rebels and they take their time to respond to a crime scene. As for what happened to kwa Mashu it's really disgusting and clearly shows that there is no fear for the police nor respect.

  • malcolm.stevens.129 - 2012-10-17 08:59

    We need a police members who are: 1. Intelligent - not the bottom of the barrel 2. Committed to fighting crime - it's a vocation 3. Deeply against corruption or the temptation of corruption 4. Well-trained and skilled in fighting crime 5. Well paid - remove the temptation for corruption and reward them for risking their lives for us 6. Hard working 7. Equal in their treatment of crime victims 8. Non-racist 9. Service-oriented servants of society, polite We're a long way off from this but there needs to be a vision for this, backed by an action plan to get there in say the next 10 years. More effective police will capture more criminals - we then need a judicial system which is equally effective in prosecuting the criminals and a penal system which can hold these criminals in acceptable conditions. More effective policing will also contribute to driving crime down, which will then motivate the police force more, reduce the load which the police force need to deal with, allowing them to be even more effective. We're currently stuck in a downward spiral which requires drastic measures to stop in its tracks, and to start reversing. It cannot improve as it stands. Lastly, we need to start addressing the social issues pushing people towards crime. Without this, the police will always be struggling. Address the problem at the root cause rather than treating the symptoms.

  • bibi.vanzyl - 2012-10-17 12:02

    Fewer better trained cops with better salaries. 19 000 appointments a year was just done to boost the government employment figures. And to entertain the general public on the social media with photo's of sleeping cops.

  • boeretroos.redakteur - 2012-10-17 12:41

    The whole police system lacks professionalism. The police system is non fixable and should be tossed overboard.

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