New initiative to reward, report cops

Friday, September 2, 2011

Pretoria - A new campaign, aimed at promoting professional policing, will see the best and worst of the country's police officers being singled out by the South African public.

The 'Reward a cop, report a cop' campaign was launchedby the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) on Thursday.

The ISS explained that the campaign aimed to mobilise civilians to become more active in reporting good and bad police behaviour in order to help shape a culture of police excellence. 

Head of the ISS Crime and Justice Programme, Gareth Newham, said: "Visible public support will strengthen the individual position of good police officers within the SAPS and surrounding communities which will, in turn, assist in isolating those officers involved in corruption and misconduct."

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has thrown his weight behind the campaign, saying South Africans needed to support upstanding police officers and isolate the "rotten apples" who abused their position.

"...We not only support the initiative but pledge to work closely with the initiative in ensuring that the processes set up by the ISS are able to have the desired effect. Over the next few weeks, the Civilian Secretariat for Police will engage with both SAPS and ISS to ensure that people using the processes set up by ISS are able to effectively encourage hard-working officers," Mthethwa said.

He noted that the campaign would provide South Africans with a platform to air their experiences with police officers - but will not focus on only the bad. Police officers who show commitment to their work and communities will also be recognised.

"Understandably, members of the public often take the time to report complaints and negative experiences they have of the police and we take these complaints and experiences very seriously. 

"However, if we want to build the type of police officer who is professional and service-orientated we also need to reward excellence and promote certain positive behaviour," the minister said.

He urged South Africans to recognise those police officers who carried out their duties with honesty, dignity and respect.

"This will strengthen their position in both the SAPS and in the communities and assist in isolating those officers who are involved in corruption and misconduct," he added. 

As part of the campaign, various communication channels are available with tips and information on how South Africans can "reward a cop, report a cop." 

The public can:
- Visit the Crime Hub on www.issafrica.org/crimehub for information about promoting professional policing. Tips will be posted on how to reward good police service and what to do as a victim of corruption. 
- 'Like' the Facebook page to be part of a community forum to read and share stories and recent experiences of police service, good or bad. Information will be provided on how to become more active in communities and to support local police. 
- Follow Twitter @RewardaCop for the latest news on policing and crime with a focus on stories of excellent police service and cases of corruption. - BuaNews

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