Highly skilled police officers leaving SAPS at an alarming rate, warns Popcru


Highly skilled and specialised members of the Special Task Force and National Intervention Unit divisions are exiting the SA Police Service at an alarming rate, leaving the country’s borders vulnerable and posing a significant risk to safety and security, the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) has warned.

POPCRU President Thulani Ngwenya said the South African Police Service skills drain was now reaching critical levels as members retire or leave the service for better paying positions in the private sector.

“This represents a serious threat to our national security, as our most skilled officers in are leaving faster than we can train replacements. Law enforcement is already understaffed and underequipped, and this exodus from specialised divisions means that we cannot properly deal with serious crimes that fall beyond the scope of classic policing.”

“While private security firms are luring away our highly trained personnel with lucrative offers, our country has been left vulnerable to security breaches. Additionally, the migration of some of our most experienced and valuable officers to the private sector is not only weakening our law enforcement capabilities, but also undermining the principle of state responsibility for protecting all citizens.”

He said active police numbers across the SAPS have been “unsatisfactory” for years.

“For example, the total number of officers fell by 17 470 in the decade between 2012 and 2022, as revealed by the Annual Performance Plan for the 2023/2024 period. Meanwhile, the country’s population grew by more than eight million people during that time.”

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