Civil claims cost SAPS R290m
CIVIL claims lodged against the South African Police Service in the 2015-16 financial year amounted to R14.7bn.
Of this amount, a total of R290.9m was paid while R7.3bn was cancelled or reduced, the chairperson of the parliamentary police portfolio committee Francois Beukman said at a Human Rights Commission and African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum seminar on human rights in Braamfontein yesterday.
Budget cuts, he said, meant that the department of police would have to reduce its staff complement by 3000 members over the next three years. This would mean doing more with less human capital.
“This will lead to more pressure on frontline staff who will be required to execute their duties effectively and in line with the Constitution.”
At the gathering Beukman proposed seven steps that could be taken to improve the SAPS’ human rights record.
Number one on his list of proposals dealt with leadership at the top.
“The executive authority and top leadership of the police should be the main messengers in promoting a culture of conduct in line with a human rights-based approach.” Beukman said.
Beukman also urged that a national policing board be established.
“The National Development Plan states that a national policing board should be established, with multisectoral and multidisciplinary expertise, to set standards for recruiting, selecting, appointing and promoting police officials and police officers,” Beukman said.
The board he has in mind should also develop a code of ethics and analyse the professional standing of policing, based on international norms and standards, Beukman said.
Saying that technical solutions and digital policing were the future of policing, Beukman declared there was a need to provide stateof-the-art technology or applications, such as body cams (body-worn video cameras) to frontline police officers. Beukman also said station commanders and unit commanders should be more proactive and become role models for their members.
Other steps advocated by Beukman include a more active role for communities and community police forums.
“Communities and community police forums could play a major monitoring and supportive role in ensuring that generally applied human rights standards are adhered to by police, especially during the process of arrest and detention.”