Police investigative skills set for major boost

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pretoria - Deputy Police Minister Maggie Sotyu says the ministry will invest more resources in improving police officers' investigative skills so they can secure more convictions of child rapists and murderers.

Addressing Parliament during the child protection debate on Tuesday, Sotyu said efficient investigations would result in those arrested for crimes against vulnerable groups getting tougher sentences.

In the 2011/12 financial year, more than 18 000 police officers across the country were trained in the Victim Empowerment, Child Justice, Human Rights, Domestic Violence and Sexual Offences Acts.

"We are happy to say that these topics are also covered in the newly introduced Basic Police Development Learning Programme and some managerial courses. They are also featured as cross-cutting topics in all operational courses dealing with victims, complainants, suspects, colleagues, arrestees and use of force," Sotyu said.

For this financial year, the ministry has budgeted R1.7 billion for all forms of training, with a special focus on training for investigators of sexual offences.

This is in keeping with the spirit of the theme for this year announced by Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa during his budget vote speech earlier this month, making 2012 the "year of the detective".

Additionally, Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Jeff Radebe recently announced that he has commissioned a report to look into whether to re-introduce special sexual offences courts. Sixty-two of these courts are already operating on a pilot basis, and have so far proven to be every effective in dealing with sexual offences.

Sotyu noted that the Adopt-a-Cop and the Safer Schools programmes were making strides in fostering resilience and confidence amongst learners and youth.

The SA Police Service (SAPS) will place a teacher supplement in the Mail and Guardian this coming Friday as part of Child Protection Week.

SAPS leadership has also pledged its support for the call by Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini to increase the legal drinking age from 18 to 21 years.

As part of the inter-ministerial committee on substance abuse, Sotyu said the department would commit to all the processes leading towards the development of the proposed legislation.

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