Police detective numbers questioned

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A reply to a DA parliamentary question posed by Dianne Kohler Barnard has revealed there are 23 682 trained detectives in the South African Police Service (SAPS).



“However, in the recent budget briefings, the number of detectives (less support staff) was given as 25 771. This raises questions over the number of untrained detectives in particular. Either way, this number is simply not enough to address South Africa’s massive crime crisis, which has seen violent crime once again on the increase and the murder rate rise again to 45 per day.
“According to the DA’s policy proposals, we would ensure an additional 7 818 detectives are brought into the SAPS, to bring detective numbers to 31 500.
“The DA will submit parliamentary questions to determine the current vacancy rate for detectives; the number of dockets on each detective’s desk; whether a plan exists to increase the number of detectives, and a budget made available for this; and whether continued training is made available for those who remain in the employ of the SAPS.
“Well-trained and resourced detectives are essential to ensuring all crimes are properly investigated and that a successful court-ready docket presents a strong case against the accused.
“Currently, the conviction rate as a proportion of the cases reported to SAPS sits at a mere 14 % as of 2011/12 according to the SAIRR.
“Importantly, only 43% of the cases reported to SAPS make it to court. This is often attributed to problems in evidence and poor handling of the crime scene, often attributed to cases being thrown out of court.
“The Minister and Police Commissioner would do well to spend their R73 billion budget on employing and training more detectives as opposed to wasting R45 212 787 of public money on ‘accommodation and meals’ in one year alone.
“Indeed, the DA recently revealed R 153 322 610 has been noted by the Department as irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure between 2009 and 2014. This is money that would have been better spent on providing a well-trained and professional service.
“The DA will continue to urge the Minister of Police, Nathi Nhleko, to prioritise the hiring and training of more detectives to ensure our criminal justice system works optimally.
“Only when we do this, will we see a real impact on our unacceptably high crime rates” she said.