The Democratic Alliance (DA) can reveal that the number of police reservists has dropped by 86% since 2010. In response to a DA parliamentary question, the Police Commissioner revealed that the number of police reservists have declined to a shocking 8 908 from 63 592 nine years ago.
In a country currently battling with unprecedented levels of Gender Based Violence and violent civil unrest – it is unconscionable that the Government has overseen such a dramatic decline in the number of police reservists.
These reservists do not only play an essential role in aiding the police but also make it possible for more officers to be available for greater visible policing which is desperately needed on South Africa’s streets.
SAPS is 64 000 police officers short of meeting the United Nations police to citizen ratio of 1:220. In South Africa the ratio is 1:380. The lack of visible policing has had a significant impact on safety and security and in preventing violent crimes.
Reservists play a critically important role in ensuring that we have more boots on the ground by supplementing the ranks of ordinary officers.
The DA calls on Minister Bheki Cele to urgently allocate more resources to the police reservist programme to ensure more boots on the ground to keep our communities safe.
We also call on the Minister to relook the stringent requirements to become a reservist. It currently takes 30 months to train a reservist. This is in stark comparison to the SAPS Basic Police Development Learning Programme (BPDLP) where new recruits are required to undergo 24 months of training.
Surely, we should make it easier for dedicated South Africans to become reservists. Reservists are often retired SAPS members and want to make a difference in the country.
Our country is under siege. Yet, South Africans who want to make a difference in SAPS are being denied the opportunity to do so.
The DA will continue to fight for the restoration of law and order, through the hiring of people with a passion for policing and protecting their fellow South Africans.
Andrew Whitfield MP
DA Shadow Minister of Police
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