Police reservist numbers drop alarmingly


Reservists in the SA Police Service (SAPS) dropped in number by a staggering 82% over an eight year period.

This was revealed in response to a Democratic Alliance (DA) parliamentary question.

In 2010, the number of police reservists stood at 63 592 and they manned stations as all officers were on the streets to protect the thousands of visitors for the FIFA Football World Cup. A year later there was a moratorium on the taking on of reservists SA shadow deputy police minister Dianne Kohler Barnard said.

The policy was changed and saw 70% of existing experienced and dedicated members excluded. Now, eight years on, the total number of reservists has dropped to just 11 015.

An increase in population figures over the past five years notwithstanding, the numbers of police in South Africa are currently the lowest over the period yet it is rare to find a station with more than a handful of active reservists – who put in long hours for the benefit of the country at no cost whatsoever she pointed out.
“This is alarming especially considering at the end of the March this year, there was one just police officer for every 375 South Africans.
“An under-resourced and under-capacitated SAPS is battling to contain high rates of crime and police reservists should be welcomed with open arms as they are vital as a force multiplier providing support to the core contingent of our police service.
“Rural communities are specially affected by the lack of policing and the DA has repeatedly called for the introduction of rural safety units. The steep drop in SAPS reservists means South Africans and farming communities in particular, continue to live in fear. Equally our police are so stretched they are set up for failure,” she said.