34% more SAPS detectives

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cape Town - The number of police detectives has grown by 34 percent since 2003, Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa has said.

Responding to a recent question raised in the National Assembly on police capacity, Mthethwa said the department was looking to place more members at the detective service in order to speed up investigations for cases to be ready for trial and in so doing increase the conviction rate.

The police service had a staff complement of 21 610 detectives as of 31 March last year and had made allowances for an additional 2 371 detective recruits during the last financial year.

Mthethwa said that between 2002 and 2009, 64 180 additional personnel had been enlisted, representing a 53 percent increase in the number of police.

Of this, 123 officers had been appointed during the current financial year as forensic laboratory assistants.

The minister said the recruitment of detectives was a priority within the department and that an increase of 19 percent within the Production Core (salary levels 1 - 7) would be affected during the 2009/10 financial year.

A total of 12 928 members - 36 percent more than in the last financial year - would be trained in various detective related learning programmes this financial year.

In the period from April to September 2009, 955 members were trained as detectives, with 934 passing their training, while 140 had been trained between January and March - with just a single member failing.

Mthethwa said the police had reviewed the current training programme for detectives to ensure that all new members placed as detectives were also trained on how to investigate less serious or complex crimes.

Meanwhile, in answer to a further parliamentary question raised in the National Assembly, Mthethwa said the police's role in the Border Management Agency would be determined after various deliberations.

The agency was identified earlier this year by President Jacob Zuma in his State of the Nation address and cabinet had recently taken a decision to relocate the borderline function from the South African Police Service to the South African National Defence Force.

Mthethwa said the deliberations would deal with accepted practices, particularly those government initiatives which the agency would have to undertake.