The South African Police Service (SAPS) will be setting new standards for potential recruits in the New Year, warning that the days of the police service being the preferred home for those who were unsuccessful elsewhere are over. Instead, the police will embark on a focused recruitment drive aimed at turning the police into “an organisation of choice and brilliance”.
“The new recruitment drive is aimed at attracting young, energetic, patriotic and incorruptible South Africans who want to join the fight against crime in their country and local communities,” National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele said yesterday. The state BuaNews agency says Cele acknowledged that in the past, public perception of the SAPS was far from favourable and this was partly due to the poor quality of police officers.
“In fact it has been an acceptable phenomenon for [those who] fail in all walks of life to then join the SAPS. During this unfortunate phase the image of the police has been severely compromised,” he said. Some of the changes to the recruitment system include a more intensive training programme. Trainees will now undergo 12 months of basic training at the SAPS academy instead of the previous six months of training.
The field training that recruits undergo at police stations has also been extended from six to 12 months. Bearing in mind the extended training period, the stipend for recruits will also increase with the new intake from the current R1600 to R3175.
Cele said spending more time at the academy would help improve the trainees’ statement-taking skills, which was identified as one of the weaknesses in the current module. In addition, a module will be dedicated to the history of SAPS. It is hoped this module would instil “patriotism and loyalty to the organisation”. A further change is that the process of recruiting trainees will be conducted by a committee instead of individuals and that Community Policing Forums, religious groups, and even schools will become involved in the screening process.
Cele explained that after selecting a potential trainee, the committee would canvas the views of the community, the person’s school teachers and religious leader to determine if the person was SAPS material. “The potential recruits will now be subjected to a raft of screening background checks, including compulsory rigorous vetting to avoid enlisting applicants with pending criminal cases,” he added. Cele also outlined other criteria, saying candidates must be:
· A South African citizen
· 18 years and over, but not older than 30 years
· In possession of a Grade 12 or equivalent qualification
· Able to read, write and speak two official languages, one of which must be English
· Medically, physically and mentally fit
· Fit the psychometric profile
· Have no criminal/departmental convictions and no criminal/departmental pending
· Have no visible tattoos
· Of sound and sober character
He said the need for a driver’s licence had been done away as a requirement with because it was found that a number of very good candidates, who’s “background did not allow then to have a driver’s licence”, were being excluded. Vacant posts within the SAPS will also be advertised at station level instead of provincial level. This will be done to take into cognisance the different dynamics with the local station and in so doing address the needs to that particular station in the fighting crime, he added.