I welcome the fact that detective training in the Eastern Cape, with a particular focus on basic fraud investigations, will be prioritised in the 2020/21 financial year. However, along with the upskilling of existing detectives, priority needs to be given to the recruitment of new detectives to bring SAPS up to full strength in this division.
The detective division is one of the key pillars in the war against crime, and the vacancy rate needs to be reduced. Every vacant detective post creates an opportunity for criminals to get away with crime.
In response to a parliamentary question, Safety MEC, Weziwe Tikana, said there is currently a shortage of 783 detectives, or 20%, for the 2019/20 financial year. This is a slight improvement from the 832 (22%) vacancies in the previous financial year, but not nearly enough.
A good investigative arm that can gather evidence leading to the successful prosecution of criminals is vital to curb the levels of rising crime in our society. This can only happen if one has well trained detectives.
A 20% vacancy rate also means less detectives to deal with the current case load. We have to lighten the load on our overburdened detectives, by addressing this problem as soon as possible.
MEC Tikana also revealed that only 60% of detectives in the province have completed their Basic Detective Learning Programme. Similarly, only 65% of the current detective commanders, out of 254, have completed their requisite training.
The DA would improve the working conditions of detectives by ensuring that they are supplied with enough vehicles, cell phones, and IT equipment to do their jobs.
The DA would also develop high quality training, in cooperation with private training institutions, and ensure lateral entry into SAPS according to a point system.
To build trust between the community and the police, a well-resourced and well-trained police service that can ensure criminals are nailed are jailed, is essential.
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