The DA believes that the provincial department of Safety and Liaison must take up the cudgels on behalf of our much-neglected police reservists to ensure the completion of firearm competency training. This will drastically assist in the fight to create safer communities as they cannot patrol without undergoing this training.
Any government that is serious about crime fighting would pull out all stops to get our Bobbies on the Beat.
In a recent response to a question posed to the MEC, Weziwe Tikana, regarding police reservists that had undergone firearm competency training, a staggering 1 895 reservists still needed to successfully complete their training compared to the 136 reservists who had completed their firearm competency training. This means that they cannot be utilised for patrols.
In contrast, 92% of ordinary members of the SAPS have undergone their firearm competency testing. Why the differential?
Reservists have been battling for two years to undergo this vital training. Recently, some were given seven days notice to attend a week’s training in Graaff-Reinet which is very difficult for people with jobs. A training option in major locations should be offered in the evenings where facilities exist. Let us treat our volunteers with the respect that they deserve.
Police reservists form an integral part of the province’s policing strength but they are not given a fair opportunity to undergo training.
High visibility policing is said to cut the crime rate by 40%.
This is especially important when one takes into account that more than four in ten households in the Eastern Cape reported that they have never seen a police officer on duty in their area of residence and a further 68.2% of households reported police laziness as one of the reasons why they are not satisfied with the way police dealt with crime as reported in the Stats SA 2014/15 Victims of Crime Survey.
The DA calls for active and visible policing along with the increased recruitment and systematic training of police reservists. All available resources must be utilized by the SAPS in order to tackle crime efficiently.
With the right strategies in place, we can win this war.
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