Mthethwa: Cop recruitment a problem

2013-03-26 13:39
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa. (GCIS, Sapa)

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa. (GCIS, Sapa)

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Cape Town - Recruiting the right kind of individual into the police service is a "major problem", Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa told MPs on Tuesday.

Briefing Parliament's police portfolio committee on brutality in the police force, he said his department was looking into publishing the names of new recruits before they were sent off for training.

"The major problem has always been... that the issue of recruitment of police officers creates some problems, because you have in provinces a recruitment officer, who has tremendous powers for recruiting members, and in some instances, that has been abused."

It had been decided two years ago to "look into the whole issue of people who are recruited, so even if [a recruit] doesn't have a criminal record, but may be known in the community as a person you would not ideally want [that person] as a police officer, then he would not be accepted".

Public comment

A meeting last January had looked into this again.

"A resolution was taken that... after accepting a person, before even going to training, the names of those recruited have to be published in the media."

The community would then have an opportunity to comment.

"And if there are no adverse comment on individuals, we take it that this person is accepted by the public as the person to be an officer."

On recent incidents of police brutality, Mthethwa conceded there had been "some lapses in command and control, particularly in the management of police stations".

Among other things, "in some instances, officers wanted to shield one another when others are involved in wrong-doing".

In some instances, there were "big challenges" with the management of police stations.

"If you look at incidents [of police brutality] that have happened recently, they are incidents that have happened at police station level.

"The policing precincts, and police stations in particular, are as good as the station commander in that particular area."

Police brutality to get ‘multi-faceted’ approach

Mthethwa said his department would be adopting a "multi-faceted" approach in dealing with police brutality.

"We intend to introduce a multi-faceted approach which we hope will not only contribute to our existing approaches to professionals [in] the police, but will provide a long and lasting solution to the levels of brutality and criminality to a certain degree."

He also repeated that while the behaviour of certain police members involved in corruption and criminal acts was "unacceptable", the majority of police officers were dedicated members of the force.

The police code of conduct was an "excellent code", but its application needed to be given higher priority.

"There is difficulty in regulating what people do and how they behave; sometimes individuals do other things, other than what is expected," he said.
Read more on:    police  |  nathi mthethwa

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