Police Minister General Bheki Cele says processes are already underway to remove 57 police officers from the system, who have been found to have criminal records or cases against them.
The Minister said this when the security cluster replied to oral questions at the National Assembly on Wednesday.
DA MP Zakhele Mbele had asked the SA Police Service how 57 police officers with criminal records were found to be working in a department that deals with vulnerable victims of assault and sexual abuse and what corrective measures were being taken.
The Minister said in some instances, police officers get criminal convictions while they are already in the system.
“I fully agree and concur with you that there are 57 people that are in the South African Police Service having criminal records. Specifically, 30 of them are in the environment that you are talking about, which is a very sensitive environment.
“They should not be there to deal especially with children and they should not be there to deal with abused … and mostly female [victims] who have been assaulted, who have been violated, some of them by their own partners.
“The answer on that is that we have already put [processes in motion] to deal with those people with the required speed not just in the environment that you are talking about, but in the entire system.
“Already, the instruction has been issued that those people, by law, are not supposed to be there. Somebody must move quick and fast and that would be in the name of the National Police Commissioner of the South African Police Service to see that we implement that they vacate the system and you put the people that we trust to work with the communities,” he said.
How SAPS screens prospective officers?
The Minister said, meanwhile, that in terms of regulation 11 (1) (a) … of the South African Police Service regulations, a person who applies to be appointed as a member of the SA Police Service must have no previous criminal convictions and such person shall allow his or her fingerprints to be taken.
He said that all prospective persons to be employed by the South African Police Services are subjected to a fingerprint screening process, which is done by the local criminal record centre to establish whether any of the persons have any criminal convictions or criminal cases pending.
“In addition to the fingerprint screening process, a [desktop] computer verification of relevant criminal profile systems are conducted by crime intelligence to ensure that no persons with criminal convictions or criminal cases pending are employed in the service.”