Daily Dispatch

Unions condemn police staff cut plan


POLICE unions are up in arms about a proposal to cut police staffing numbers by 9 000.

“We are angry as we have learnt of this developmen­t from the media,” the SA Police Union (Sapu) said yesterday.

Sapu said police management and political leadership had failed to engage labour on the issue, and it called on management to be sensitive to union members.

“This has already caused unnecessar­y panic within the police service, as members are calling our offices wanting more informatio­n on this issue,” it said.

The plan would negatively affect service delivery as members would be demoralise­d, it added.

“We call upon both the police department and National Treasury to put a moratorium on this proposed lay-off until we have reached an agreement regarding it,” the union said.

“We are not even aware of what motivated it.”

Beeld newspaper reported on Monday that the National Treasury had recommende­d that the police service reduce staff numbers by 9 000.

According to a Treasury report submitted to parliament last week, the police service could, as a result, place a moratorium on the recruitmen­t of new members from 2013.

Democratic Alliance MP Dianne Kohler Barnard said the country could not afford to have fewer police officers.

Colonel Vish Naidoo said on Sunday the Treasury had only made a recommenda­tion, and that the figure of 9 000 was not definite.

“It will happen over a long period of time.

“Nobody’s job is under threat,” he explained.

“The idea is to reduce existing staff numbers through natural means – resignatio­ns, retirement­s … that kind of thing.”

Naidoo said the police had appointed around 55 000 new members between 2005 and 2009 ahead of the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

“This means that we appointed about 11 000 people a year, whereas we usually appoint only about 3 500 a year.”

In a statement on Monday, the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union said it did not support the effort to reduce staff members in the police service.

“We will engage further with [SA Police Service] management after studying the annual performanc­e plan that contains this assertion.” — Sapa

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