Unabridged statement: Minister of Police: Psychology

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MEDIA STATEMENT – For immediate release

MINISTER MTHETHWA CALLS FOR PSYCHOLOGICAL BOOST FOR POLICE 

Plan of action to have clear targets, time frames and retention strategy to assist police morale
 

CAPE TOWN – 23 November 2010.  The Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa today called upon the South African Police Service (SAPS) management to urgently present him with an action plan aimed at boosting police in dealing with some of the psychological effects in their daily duties.

The plan must look at addressing the levels of personnel and identify obstacles within the department which may impede the achievement of optimal staff levels with regard to psychologists.  “Psychologists are part of an essential service in ensuring that our police members optimally succeed in carrying out their duties.  We therefore need to ensure that while we address their upward mobility, financial and physical needs, we do not isolate the psychological aspects.  It is common knowledge that police operate under tremendous conditions and the stress levels are often very high,” stated the Minister.
“I have requested the management to provide me with a full report accompanied by a plan of action before the end of this financial year, on how our psychological services can be boosted.  Upon receipt of this report (which would by the way have to address clear targets, time frames to address these challenges as well as include a retention strategy to ensure those who are currently in the employ of SAPS), we shall ensure that the recommendations are speedily implemented,” he added.

Minister Mthethwa was responding to a Parliamentary question with reference to the actual and optimal number of police psychologists employed by the SAPS in each province in the past five years.  Recent analysis conducted in the department indicates that Gauteng has the biggest number of psychologists, at 161, followed by KwaZulu-Natal at 136, the third being the Western Cape at 106.  This scenario is not entirely surprising as previous research showed almost 70% of crime in South Africa takes place in these three provinces. 

The North West province has the least number of psychologists, at 61.  Some of these could be attributed to decrease in crimes or to certain extents, career moves by the psychologists to other attractive offers, both locally and internationally.
“Society would know that fighting crime is not like having pap en vleis.  It is a duty, a conviction and as we have been saying all along, in the ensuring that we fight this scourge smarter and tougher, we need to have police officers who are not only physically fit, but psychologically and mentally stable,” concluded the Minister.

Ends/
 

For enquiries, please contact:

Zweli Mnisi, Spokesperson to the Minister of Police 082 045 4024
 



Issued by the Ministry of Police.