The fight against crime will receive a major boost over the next three years with a 10 percent increase in the number of police planned. Tabling the department’s Budget Vote in the National Council of Provinces yestrday, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said the appointment of new trainees over the medium term is planned to total 17 539, comprising 6144 this year, 6648 next year and 4747 in 2012/2013.
He said the South African Police Service (SAPS) intends recruiting the right calibre of police officers. “We want to place stringent conditions, with the emphasis on attracting the most talented South Africans.” Other steps taken in the fight against crime include the transformation of police ranks. Mthethwa said this was done to ensure clears line of command and control as well as instilling a sense of discipline among police officers.
While the minister acknowledged that a change in ranks will not automatically lead to a dramatic decline in crime, he said it was part of a bigger approach in transforming the SAPS, with the emphasis on enforcing the highest form of discipline within the police. Improving safety and security in rural communities was also high on the agenda of the SAPS.
To achieve this, service delivery at local station levels would be improved, Mthethwa added. Police visibility in rural areas and police response time would also be improved and increased. Mthethwa said police also wanted to enhance the relationships between themselves, farming communities and extended rural communities.
“To ensure full participation in this plan, we have engaged a number of stakeholders including both farmer and farm worker organisations. We now need to extend this engagement to include rural communities more generally, including traditional leaders and communities not situated on farms,” he said. On the issue of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Mthethwa said the SAPS were adequately prepared for the soccer spectacle.
“Our readiness ranges from personnel to state-of-the-art equipment, ICT [information and communication technology] and co-operation with the security agencies from the 31 participating countries,” he said.
Mthethwa said earlier this year South Africa’s comprehensive security plan was presented to all police chiefs from the participating nations during a meeting in Zurich, Switzerland.
“The police chiefs brought with them their security experts and the plan was given a resounding approval,” he said.