Elaine Swanepoel
1 minute read
24 Aug 2013
8:00 am

Police: you get less bang for your buck

Elaine Swanepoel

The large number of convictions against police officers in South Africa is costing tax payers a fortune.

FILE PICTURE: Members of the South African Police Services. Picture: Morapedi Mashashe

In addition, they aren’t getting their money’s worth when it comes to crime prevention in South Africa, according to the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) Crime and Justice Programme’s Gareth Newham.

Studies done by the ISS reveal that civil claims against members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) amount to R840 million in relation to assault and R1,1 billion related to shooting incidents.

The total claims against the police have doubled in the past two years to R14,8 billion. “Police now have to use money out of their budget to pay for civil cases against police officers, while it could have gone to better use within the police force,” Newman told The Citizen.

Speaking at the ISS’ 4th annual crime conference in Johannesburg, Newman said the SAPS’ budget has increased with 222% to R66,7 billion over the past 10 years and police personnel compliment increasing with more than 50%.

“Mass recruitment, however, was poorly thought through by police senior management and resulted in large numbers of police on streets who were poorly trained, managed and supported.”

The Police Force isn’t getting the results it should be. “If you take into account the large amount of money going into the SAPS, we should be seeing a large scale reduction in crimes like house robberies.” Newman said the money allocated to the SAPS could go a lot further if it was managed properly and policemen were held accountable.

“Throwing more money at the police is not the solution,” Newman said. “We don’t need more people in police uniforms; we need professional police officers who are better trained, motivated and managed.”

The SAPS had not responded to The Citizen’s query at the time of going to print.