_: Further stresses for discipline within SAPS at all material times
The Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa is encouraged by the number of police officers trained in dealing with sexual offences and has now challenged these officers to translate the knowledge gained into practical actions.
For the financial year 2008/9 a total of 669 officers received additional training to basic training, in 2009/10 the number increased to 2 906. For 2010/11 a total of 2 272 were trained and for the financial year 2011/12, a total of 2 203 were trained.
“These numbers are encouraging as they indicate a steady increase over the years. In addition to their basic training (which includes training on sexual offenses) received additional or specific training on sexual offenses and since the re-establishment of the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) units, training of members is on-going in order to ensure full capacitating of members in the FCS.”
“As we reiterated in the past, priority must be placed on fighting crime against women, children and the elderly. Up-skilling and training of police officers must be on-going and we urge officer to ensure they utilise the knowledge gained to make a dent in the fight against crime,” added the Minister.
“As we had declared 2012 the year of the detective, we need to sustain the momentum in the fight against crime. Through a coordinated manner amongst the different units within South African Police Service (SAPS), we are confident that the more we harshly convict criminals the lesser people will be involved in heinous crimes.”
“Once this has been achieved refresher training for all members will commence. Refresher training related to general investigation is on-going because when it comes to training, none can claim to be experts but training must be on-going, relevant and help us deal a blow to crimes such as sexual offences,” added the Minister.
Meanwhile, Minister Mthethwa stressed the importance of discipline amongst all police officers and further tasked the police management to ensure they intensify discipline across the department.
In reiterating the process and determining the severity of sanctions against the SAPS members found guilty in an internal disciplinary hearing, the Minister outlined internal steps that are taken against members being found guilty of a criminal offence.
After a disciplinary case has been heard and a guilty verdict has been pronounced by the presiding officer, the employer representative submits aggravating circumstances and the employee representative/employee submits mitigating circumstances for consideration by the presiding officer in determining an appropriate sanction.
The severity of the sanction is dependent on the severity of the case as well as factors that may be argued in aggravation of circumstances by the employer and factors that may be argued in mitigation of the circumstances by the employee facing charges.
“We want to emphasise this process publicly precisely because there have been isolated of ill-discipline by some of our members and unfortunately such incidents have tended to be portrayed as being dominant within SAPS. Contrary to public perceptions that management is lenient on some of these members, actions are actually being taken against members who do not uphold discipline.”
“That is why as the police leadership, during our regular engagement with police management, we are now beginning to monitor how discipline is enforced across the department. We have said to the management, that they need to move away from merely issuing national instructions to members but ensure that those instructions are implemented and that the code of conduct of the SAPS is upheld 365 days,” concluded the Minister.