Civil claims cost SAPS R290m

The New Age (Gauteng) - - POLITICS - DEN­NIS CRUYWAGEN news@the­newage.co.za

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.”

Fran­cois Beuk­man

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