Pretoria: Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has commended and encouraged members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) who continue to undergo fitness programmes in order to effectively fight crime.
“For us to swiftly and effectively fight crime, we need to ensure we have police officers who are well-trained on an on-going basis, including fitness levels of all police officers. The focus is centred on continuous improvement,” said the minister.
He was responding to a Parliamentary question on what his department was doing to encourage police fitness.
He said one of the elementary requirements to being an effective police officer was physical fitness.
“We shall also ensure that we continuously bench-mark our training with international standards and other police departments worldwide, more so if we are to deal a blow to international crime syndicates,” he said.
As part of monitoring fitness, police officers are handed a log book and an exercise and diet manual which guides them on living a healthy lifestyle.
This manual educates members about training and dietary changes they will need to undergo in order to rectify their body mass index and training programmes which will assist them in improving their fitness level to the standards set by the SAPS.
Police who are found not competent will be re-assessed to ensure they meet the required standards.
As part of this operational approach, letters from provincial commissioners are forwarded to the relevant cluster commanders and station commanders sensitising them of members found not yet competent.
They are then referred to the fitness toolkit for guidance on preparation in improving their fitness levels before their re-assessment.
“Society looks upon us to fight crime and to succeed in this work. We must ourselves be both psychologically and physically fit. We therefore have a responsibility to examine and audit our all-round performance. We must ensure that our performance is beyond reproach for us to win the confidence of the people we serve.
“That is why when victims of crime come to police stations, they need to find officers that are well-trimmed and super-fit, not lazy cops. After all police stations are the face of our policing effort,” he said.
The minister further emphasised that as part of the on-going programme around fitness, all new police stations that are being built will now include a gymnasium.
“It should therefore become a norm for members to utilise these facilities at all times,” he said.