Police unions disagree on recruitment, training processes

Date: 13 Mar 2019

Members of the police's Tactical Response Team (TRT), deployed by Police Minister Bheki Cele, parades in Westbury, Johannesburg, 4 October 2018. Picture: Twitter

Members of the police's Tactical Response Team (TRT), deployed by Police Minister Bheki Cele, parades in Westbury, Johannesburg, 4 October 2018. Picture: Twitter

‘The current police training method does not give us the type of a cop we want,’ said Popcru, and should enhance professionalism in the police service.

The South African Policing Union (Sapu) has warned that rival union the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union’s (Popcru) submission on the recruitment of police officers proposed unrealistic goals of doubling the annual intake of new trainees.

In a submission to the portfolio committee on police, Popcru decried the growing shortage of officers in the South African Police Service (SAPS).

“The insufficient human capital at the police stations hinders the provision of efficient service to the communities.

“Popcru, as a result, submit that the current number of [the] annual intake be doubled with another 3,000, to make it a total figure of 6,000 annually,” said the union in its submission.

Sapu president Mpho Kwinika argued that an attempt to expedite the recruitment process would create issues for intelligence authorities carrying out proper vetting of candidates.

“The recruitment should not be something which takes place in a month, it should take a year.

“At the moment, crime intelligence is already failing to issue Z204 security clearance to people in the force and now they want to recruit 6,000 members per year, when we are already struggling to deal with these numbers as it is,” said Kwinika.

“We are also worried about suggestions that community policing forums and other civil society organisations must be used in this recruitment drive, because SAPS needs to be accountable to those same people who will now be expected to assist in the recruitment process.”

Popcru also raised the issue of insufficient training given to police officers, suggesting that the entire model needed to be changed.

Based on the history and culture of the SAPS, it said, training should be one of the central components of reform and transformation in the police service.

“The current police training method does not give us the type of a cop we want.

“Training, which would also enhance professionalism in the police service, should be skills oriented, on the job, and to recognise talents and experience rather than just a certificate,” it said.

By Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni – simnikiweh@citizen.co.za

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