Pretoria – The South African Police Service (SAPS) will this year apply the “Back to Basics” approach to policing in a bid to ensure that all people in the country are safe.
Acting National Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane said police management have concluded a thorough analysis of the past and recent performance of the SAPS and are in agreement that urgent, focused action is required to turn the SAPS’ performance around to ensure that it is an organisation every South African can be proud of.
“The majority of the deficiencies and challenges identified relate to the tried and tested, fundamental principles of policing, which have been neglected for a long period of time.
“This analysis has necessitated the introduction of a “Back-to Basics” approach to policing, which focuses on every police officer doing the basics of policing and on doing these basics properly and consistently,” Phahlane said, at a media briefing in Pretoria alongside Police Minister Nathi Nhleko.
The briefing was aimed at outlining the programme of action for the police service for the year ahead.
Phahlane said the Back to Basics approach is centred on a few critical organisational concerns that will be rigorously addressed.
These include discipline and the manner in which police officers conduct themselves as a distinctive characteristic of policing; enhanced police visibility which implies more police officers in uniform, thereby minimising opportunities to commit crime; and the targeted, informed deployment of operational resources to ensure the optimal utilisation of the limited resources that the police have at their disposal, ensuring that they are applied for maximum effect.
Phahlane explained that the recovery plans are not only focussed on ensuring the improvement of performance and the achievement of annual targets, but are also driving the Back to Basics approach.
Regarding the incidences of police killings, Phahlane said an attack on a police officer is an attack on the democratic dispensation.
“Such anarchy should be cut short and not allowed to spread so as to endanger citizens of this country,” he said.
The murder of police officers can be minimised by adherence to basic policing practices which talk to the operational readiness of police officers.
“The message to police officers is not ambiguous. When they are under attack in the course of executing their mandate, it is expected that they function within the parameters of the laws of the country.
“They will apply proportional force to make irrelevant the perception that the police are brutal,” he said.
Phahlane emphasised that the essence of the Back to Basics approach requires that the public play a central role in changing the outlook of the police.
“This will ensure that we have a police service that is responsive to the safety and security needs of society, a police service that is known to be upholding a high standard of conduct and that is in sync with the constitutional imperative that is described in its mandate,” he said.
SAPS to focus on transformation, institutional reform
Police Minister Nathi Nhleko says a panel of experts is being assembled to assist in implementing transformation and reforms in the South African Police Service (SAPS) as per the recommendations of the Marikana Commission of Enquiry.
President Jacob Zuma in June last year released the report of the Marikana Commission of Inquiry, appointed to investigate matters of public, national and international concern arising out of the tragic incidents at the Lonmin Mine in Marikana during 11 to 16 August 2012. About 44 people lost their lives and many others were injured.
At a media briefing in Pretoria earlier on Sunday, the Police Minister said: “The commission made recommendations on how we should implement transformations and reforms in the South African Police Service.”
A key recommendation was that a panel of experts should be appointed.
The panel will, among other things, look at reviewing public order policing, analysing international best practice, revising and amending standing procedures and orders including all other prescripts relevant to public order policing, investigating the adequacy and inadequacy of public order policing methods and other available tools and equipment for use in non-lethal or less force environments.
In response to the Marikana Commission on Enquiries’ recommendations, the Ministry of Police held consultation meetings with a number of stakeholders with a view to getting a pool of suitable men and women who can assist in implementing the findings of the commission.
“We have received nominations from a number of stakeholders and the nominees were considered by the Minister for appointment to the panel,” the Minister said.
The commission said that the recommendations of the National Planning Commission to demilitarize and professionalize the SAPS should be implemented as a matter of priority.
This includes that staffing and resourcing of the Independent Police Investigations Directorate (IPID) be reviewed to ensure that it is able to carry out its functions effectively.
Minister Nhleko said the SAPS would this year focus on transformation.
“We have been given a mandate to ensure that the South African Police Service is a professional, demilitarised service that is aimed at conducting policing in an integrated manner while working together with our communities,” he said.
The mandate to transform the SAPS, together with the recommendations of the Marikana Commission, will be the key guiding tools to the transformation and institutional reform programme.
Minister Nhleko said the last quarter of 2015/16 was going to be full of activity as they ignite transformation and institutional reform in the police service.
“Our focus on improving the investigation and detection of crime will continue in this quarter and in the new financial year in order for us to improve and begin to be proactive in our fight against crime.
“We will continue to ensure more police visibility in our communities and business districts with a view to ensure that the people of South Africa are and feel safe,” he said.
( story updated 25/01/2016 – 10:48)