THE South African Police Service (SAPS) must give communities a better co-ordinated service, free of delays and backlogs caused by jurisdiction issues, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa told The New Age Business Breakfast on Thursday morning.
He said some South Africans struggled to get help from police stations because of difficulties caused by jurisdiction policies. This often resulted in frustration among community members, giving rise to vigilantism.
Mr Mthethwa said the SAPS held itself to benchmarks of the best police forces in the world and needed to combat the negative perceptions.
"We have to co-ordinate our work much more. So much has been said about the training of police but I can say we benchmark ourselves with the best in the world and have no problem with that. We emphasise the point that training and recruitment will always need improvement," Mr Mthethwa said.
He intended to find ways to encourage officers’ interaction with communities and expand the unit investigating crimes committed by police officers.
"Perhaps we must look at giving police stations the power to recruit themselves rather than recruitment taking place from a provincial level," he said.
Koekie Mbeki, acting head of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid), who was also attending the breakfast, said Ipid was mandated to investigate criminal activity by police officers but had limited funds and personnel.
"There is an increase in reporting of crimes committed by police," Ms Mbeki said. "We have fast-tracked our investigations because the time line is currently three months…. What needs to be understood is Ipid is a small organisation and we don’t at this stage have a national footprint.
"We are engaging with other stakeholders in the cluster like the National Prosecuting Authority to grow our presence. We cannot expect the Department of Public Works to give us any further infrastructure when we will only plant two or three investigators there," she told the breakfast meeting.
The New Age Business Breakfasts have been at the centre of controversy recently, after Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille withdrew as a guest speaker at one of the breakfasts in protest against state-owned enterprises’ sponsorship of them.
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