QUESTION NO 5
5. Mr D V Bloem (COPE-FS) to ask the Minister of Police:
(1)Whether his department has a systematic national programme to deal with search and seizures at schools around the country; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details;
(2)whether this random approach is leading to the traumatisation of learners at schools; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details?
At a national level, the South African Police Service issued guidelines for schools-based crime prevention and work closely with the Department of Basic Education, to build and ensure collaboration, at local level, between police stations and schools in their areas, in the interest of school safety. This approach addresses school safety, by dealing with both prevention programmes and ensuring appropriate responses to safety concerns.
Search and seizures should be undertaken as part of this broader approach and is one of the possible responses to concerns about drugs or dangerous weapons in a school. It should also be done in co-operation with the school management, School Governing Body or the Safe School Committee.
Part of the South African Police Service school safety approach, is to also build a positive relationship between the learners and the SAPS, to ensure that they trust the SAPS and report crime and share their safety concerns. It is, therefore, important that we keep that objective in mind when dealing with law enforcement duties like search and seizures, whilst, at the same time, instilling confidence with decisive and professional action when crimes are committed.
In answer to the second part of the question, the approach of the police should not lead to trauma amongst students because the terms and conditions of random searches should be agreed to, between SAPS and the school community, to ensure that the rights of the children are protected, that learning is not disturbed unduly, and that children are not traumatised as a result of police action.
Reply to question 5 approved by the Minister