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30 November 2010 at 22:08 - Posted by Anonymous

Communities to ‘choose cops’ (Pretoria News)


A new recruitment drive aimed at attracting young, energetic and “incorruptible” South Africans who want to join the fight against crime has been launched by the South African Police Service (SAPS).

The criteria for the aspirant police officers include the fact that they must be South African citizens (not younger than 18 years and not older than 30 years); be in possession of a Grade 12/equivalent qualification; be medically, physically and mentally fit, be fit for psychometric profile, have no criminal/departmental convictions and have no visible tattoos.

The criteria that a new police recruit should have a driver’s licence has been waived.

Announcing the new recruitment drive at a media briefing in Pretoria yesterday, National Police Commissioner, General Bheki Cele, said the biggest desire the SAPS had, “is the sense of significance and relevance to society”.

Cele said the SAPS needed to anchor the police to communities and that the language of community members needed to change - instead of saying “these police”, they must say “our police”.

According to Cele, the new recruitment drive, dubbed “People’s cop - from the community for the country”, is informed by the scourge of corruption, laziness and low morale by a minority of members in the ranks of the SAPS.

“You may recall the ghastly revelations made recently about police officers either renting out uniforms, or being arrested for being involved in corrupt and criminal activities,” said Cele.

Communities, including community policing forums, schools, non-governmental organisations and religious leaders will be involved in the recruitment process to determine the most suitable member of the SAPS. Cele said, in the past, posts were advertised at provincial level. “But, with the new system posts will be advertised at (police) station level, taking into cognisance the different dynamics within the local station, thus addressing the fundamental needs of a particular (police) station in fighting crime.”

“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 records,” he said.

On the waiving of the driver’s licence requirement, Cele said the SAPS had in the past lost suitable candidates who could not join because they did not have one.

“It will still be needed… but it is not going to be restricting,” he said.

New recruits will undergo a year’s training programme at a police academy and a further year doing field work at a police station.

Cele said the longer time trainees would spend at the academy would also go a long way in improving the quality of statement taking, which has been one of the identified weaknesses in the current module.

The new recruits will further be exposed to a module of SAPS history for reasons of instilling patriotism and loyalty to the organisation.

According to Cele, the new recruits - who will start their training in January next year - would receive a R3 176 stipend every month (instead of R1 600).

Cele said that while the SAPS was committed to creating the best working conditions for its members, “we also expect our members to give 100-percent commitment to their work and their organisation. We demand respect for humanity and we demand that people equally respect our officer in uniform. We will not tolerate corruption and criminality among our members,” said Cele.

Meanwhile, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) has welcomed the new approach adopted by the SAPS.

Johan Burger, a senior researcher (crime and justice programme) at the ISS said yesterday that this would stop people bypassing the recruitment requirements.

Burger said the establishment of a committee to recruit candidates will assist the police in getting the right candidates. - Pretoria News

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