As the deadline for police officer applications looms Mitchell’s Plain community police forum (CPF) would like 50% of their local police station staff to be from the community to improve service delivery.
They will be helping prospective officers to complete their paperwork at the police station’s boardroom tomorrow, Thursday June 23, from 1pm onwards.
Chairman Norman Jantjes said they would be tabling the matter of having at least half of the Mitchell’s Plain police station staff from its local community, at the next CPF executive meeting, then to the Mitchell’s Plain cluster and to the provincial board.
Mr Jantjes said he had fielded complaints and experienced first hand the need for officers stationed in the community service station (CSC) to understand the needs, culture, language and urgency to attend to those needing help.
SAPS has embarked on a recruitment drive for entry level police trainees and invites applications from young, energetic, intelligent, physically and mentally fit, from all races and gender, dedicated to serving the country by pursuing a career in policing in the Basic Police Development Learning Programme (BPDLP). They would like to recruit 5 000 trainees in the next financial year 2023/2024.
The closing date for applications is next Thursday June 30.
Successful candidates will complete a nine-month basic training at a training academy as a police trainee and receive a stipend of R4 500.
“This might not sound as much but once they are in they can earn a decent salary. They will also be earning this stipend while learning,” he said.
The second phase includes a 12-month probationary period and after completion of basic training will be appointed to the rank of constable, receiving a salary of R189 279 per annum (R15 773.25 per month).
Mr Jantjes said he was worried about service delivery at the local police station.
He said residents and complainants should know what they can expect from police officers and then also complain if their needs are not met.
“We as CPF have an oversight role to monitor service delivery and our key objective is to be the link between the SAPS and the community,” he said.
“When the community has issues it is our job to raise it and ensure it gets the attention it deserves,” said Mr Jantjes.
“We don’t have to accept poor service delivery and at some point we will need an affidavit or documents to be certified. We will need a police officer at the station,” he said.
Mr Jantjes said he had fielded complaints of long waits, officers not competent to take a statement or advise the complainant.
“When you arrive at the station, you have survived a traumatic incident and you need to convey this to the police officer, the person needs to be patient and sensitive, and give you a chance to explain,” he said.
He said that often the police officers are distracted and are worried about going off shift.
“It is not the community’s problem. They must serve the community,” he said.
Mr Jantjes was flanked by CPF co-opt member Gwendoline Pullen, treasurer Jasmine Harris and assistant treasurer Denzil Sampson, when speaking to the Plainsman on Friday June 17.
Ms Pullen explained that if anyone felt like they were not being served that they should raise an alarm with the commander in charge.
If not satisfied then bring it to the shift commander’s attention and if it is still not resolved file a written complaint, which should be investigated either by another police officer or by Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), who looks at the conduct of a police officer. These complaints can also be directed to the SAPS complaints directorate or the ombudsman.
CPF members are able to visit the police station up to six times a month.
They have committed to check these complaints and to ensure feedback is given to the community.
Ms Harris said complainants may need privacy, especially in cases of domestic violence. “They would need to feel safe and comfortable to share their assault and abuse but now they need to spell their names and the area’s street names for police officers,” she said.
Captain Ian Williams, spokesman for Mitchell’s Plain police station, said complainants should report their concern to the CSC or shift commander, thereafter the vispol head, failing which the station commander will intervene.
“Often the complainant goes beyond that and is most often about language and cultural barriers so we ask them to be tolerant,” he said.
An applicant must be a South African citizen; have a national senior certificate or vocational safety in society certificate; be proficient in at least English and another official language; be aged between 18 and 30; not have any previous criminal convictions, knowing that background checks will be done; no visible tattoos; be prepared to take the oath; undergo a medical examination; complete and pass a physical fitness assessment; pass a psychological and integrity assessment as determined by the national commissioner; and be prepared to serve and be trained anywhere in the country. Interested applicants should submit their application on the official application form, which can be obtained for free at any police station or online www.saps.gov.za.
It must be accompanied by a curriculum vitae, identity document and reference numbers attached.