Minister: Police recruitment and command and control problematic

Minister Nathi  Mthethwa has highlighted problems in recruitment and command and control within SAPS. (Photo: DefenceWeb)

Minister Nathi Mthethwa has highlighted problems in recruitment and command and control within SAPS. (Photo: DefenceWeb)

Recruitment problems and poor station management are two of the challenges facing the South African Police Service, Parliament’s portfolio committee on police heard on Tuesday.

IOL reports that Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa highlighted abuse of power by provincial recruitment officers as a problem, along with “lapses in command and control” at the station level. Mthethwa also suggested that discipline is undermined by the desire by officers to shield each other from punishment for wrong doing.

Mthethwa said members of the public may be involved in the recruiting of police officers, with the names of recruits being published in the media and the public given an opportunity to block the appointment of a recruit who doesn’t have a criminal record, but who may be known in the community as being unfit to be in the police force. Read more.

The Cape Argus reports that the members of parliament attending the briefing said police discipline was unravelling, and public confidence in the force eroding. One MP said that instead of trusting officers, the public feared the police, which could lead to failure to report crimes.

The Minister said SAPS was committed to human rights and that the police should see themselves as “enforcers of the law and not the law itself”.

He also said his department was working with the SA Human Rights Commission and the United Nations on an initiative to instil a culture of respect for human rights beyond  the initial training which officers receive. Read more.

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