Shorter training for cops

2016-04-20 09:50
A new plan will see police training go from two years to 8 months.

A new plan will see police training go from two years to 8 months. (File)

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Pietermaritzburg - The police have announced a new approach to training, which will cut the current two-year police course to eight months.

The announcement was made on Tuesday in a press release from the national police headquarters, which states that police management has introduced a new Basic Training Learning Programme that will effectively shorten the course recruits undergo prior to being appointed as officers.

The move has left experts baffled but optimistic, and seasoned officers doubtful that less training will curb the service delivery problems in the SAPS.

The revised “intensive” training programme is aimed at a more proactive policing qualification, which, according to the statement, should result in a professional, client-centred service across the country.

The police divisional commissioner for Human Resource Development, Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, said the aim of the new training programme is to meet operational needs at station, cluster and provincial levels, in line with the back-to-basics approach to policing.

“This has put an emphasis on having a committed, disciplined and professional police service that works in partnership with an active citizenry in the fight against crime,” Mkhwanazi said.

Trainees would be exposed to academic and tactical training, including an experiential learning stage presented at community service centres at police stations within the proximity of police academies nationally.

This revised programme will be comprised of an induction phase of one month, which is intended to familiarise the trainee with a police station and the basic activities of the community service centres. This is expected to enhance trainees’ understanding of police work and to improve their learning abilities.

Recruits would also be introduced to the human resource framework and the culture of the police, including the acceptable level of discipline required from officers.

On Monday last week, 5 000 recruits were welcomed at police academies across the country under the new programme.

According to the press statement, 3 000 recruits are currently concluding 12 months of field training as part of the old programme that is being phased out. Therefore, 8 000 trainees should be ready for deployment by December this year.

Institute for Security Studies (ISS) researcher Johan Burger said he did not have enough information on the programme to provide a thorough analysis, but based on Mkhwanazi’s acclaimed background, he is optimistic that the right decision has been made.

“Mkhwanazi is a commended operations manager with a lot of focus on good discipline, handling of weapons and fitness. If the police need training for survival, he is the right man,” Burger said, adding that he hoped the new course was part of an integrated effort to professionalise the police service.

A seasoned KwaZulu-Natal police officer, who could not be named as he is not authorised to speak to the media, said the move may be problematic.

“No matter how much you intensify the training, it is nearly impossible to compact two years into eight months,” the officer said.

“The academic material that officers need to get through will suffer, unless the intention is to now place emphasis on practical training rather than theory. We will have to wait and see.”


Read more on:    police  |  pietermaritzburg

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