The South African Police Service (SAPS) is to launch a national disciplinary trial unit, which will deal with all forms of misconduct within the police ranks.
“We are confident that this unit will firstly serve to speedily finalise departmental cases and secondly serve as a huge deterrent to any potential wrongdoers within our ranks,” said National Police Commissioner, General Riah Phiyega on Monday.
Moves to establish the unit are at an advanced stage with the recruitment of members for the unit already started.
The incoming recruits will be sourced from the ranks of a lieutenant to colonel and will have some experience in investigations, human resources, labour relations or law.
“As a start, the new national trial unit will be capacitated by people whose integrity is beyond reproach, have been vetted and are not facing any criminal or disciplinary proceedings,” said General Phiyega.
She said the new approach to handling disciplinary issues within the police is informed by the desire to manage discipline in a sustainable and consistent manner.
The SAPS often comes under criticism for the way some disciplinary issues are being handled, such as the lack of consistency and some disciplinary proceedings take too long.
The impact of this is two-fold. “Firstly, the image of the SAPS is grossly affected because the confidence of the public in police is eroded. Secondly, if police officers are suspended with pay, this raises the question of unnecessary or wasteful financial implications.”
The police service has dismissed 1 442 policemen in the past three financial years. To date there are 270 SAPS members that are currently on suspension, 85 with remuneration and 185 with no remuneration.