I believe that in life we all have different roles to fulfil. I therefore believe that each of us should undertake with pride our respective duties, particularly those within civil society. With that said, I am not convinced that the South African Police Service boasts a fully committed group of community service providers. Police are there to provide a service to the people, they are there to protect the communities and most importantly they are to uphold the good name of the country by ensuring that they are on top of all criminal activities. They should be able to uproot any criminal elements in communities and should be visible at all times so as to eliminate opportunity for criminal activity.
In many communities, particularly black communities, vigilantism has taken over. This is due to lack of efficient policing within the communities. I strongly believe that the police service is filled with people who are only interested in their pay-cheques and not necessarily in the betterment of society. Police do not respond timeously to crime scenes, they hardly know what to do in cases of house breaking (or perhaps they don’t want to do anything) and they are simply unfit.
In my opinion, the six months’ training that police/future police undergo is simply not enough. Policing is a mental, physical, psychological and emotional job; it is therefore imperative that the training tackles all of these aspects. How is a policeman weighing over 200kg pure fat and not muscle going to chase after a criminal weighing about 90kg? It is Ludacris to have fat policeman and expect results; they are unfit therefore they will not be able to fulfil the job so why are they in those positions? It is also important for police to remain mindful of the fact that they are dealing with people with various problems and therefore need to be handled differently. They need to be taught how to be empathetic; in fact, they need to be taught what it is to be empathetic.
They need to be psycho-analysed so as to eradicate police brutality and spousal killings by police. If police are going to be the ones committing the crimes then what is the purpose of having them? Well, for now that is not really the issue, the issue is that though they are available they are simply not visible enough to combat any crime at all. Have you ever called the police station to report a crime in progress and had the police tell you “there are no vans, we have to wait for a van to come back from another crime scene?” it is crazy. Even crazier though, when they do eventually get to where they were supposed to have been two hours ago; they can’t take down a simple statement. If you want your statement to be recorded; you have to write it yourself.
Not only do you write your own statement, you then have to follow up with the police. That’s if you want anything done about whatever it is that you called them about in the first place anyway. If you are lucky, your case may be attended to in the next two to three years. Why, you many wonder! Well because there “aren’t enough” police to get to your case. Though you may find them hanging outside police vans eating Kentucky Fried Chicken in the wee hours of the mornings or parked outside their significant others’ place of residence while on duty, please do not hold this against them. These people are not equipped enough to handle civil duties to their full extent. In fact, they are not equipped to handle them at all.
In my opinion, the entire SAPS needs to be scraped and a new compliment of physically, mentally and psychologically fit people who are passionate about the job should be taken on. If police were efficient we would not be having people taking the law into their own hands, we wouldn’t have people resorting to accepting taxi drivers “sorting out” criminals. Crime is on the rise, don’t let statistics fool you; government is very good at covering things up. What about the crimes that aren’t reported because people don’t see the need to? What about the crimes solved by vigilantes? What about the vigilantism itself? Is that not a crime? Well, I was of the impression it was, but hey, if SAPS says it’s not because if means extra work and not enough time to spend at the local vetkoek parlour then who am I to judge?
The police ministry needs to go back to the drawing board and assess the current work force, most importantly look into ensuring good sound service delivery to communities, give tax-payers value for their money and clean up shop.