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Restore discipline in Gauteng police force

The swift deterioration of discipline in the Gauteng police force is a great cause for concern and the only way to ensure the integrity of the police force is by upholding a stringent disciplinary code.

On Friday and Saturday during the two-day safety seminar that was held by the Gauteng Portfolio Committee on Community Safety, the FF Plus emphasised that leadership must take up its responsibility to maintain discipline.

If leadership fails to take action against police members, it paves the way for corruption; bribery; sub-standard detection skills; the destruction of case files; the sale, theft or destruction of evidence and blackmail, which results in the absolute abuse of power.

During the seminar, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) delivered a presentation on public confidence in the police service as well as claims lodged against the police.

According to the national figures, only 26% of South Africans have a fair level of confidence in the police service and over the course of the past five years, R1,8 billion has been paid out in claims for wrongful arrests.

According to the ISS, the conviction rate of police members is low and many officers are either pardoned or given a warning or some other form of minimal punishment. Many police members are ignorant of their powers and rights and as a result, people are unlawfully arrested. This is the reason why training must be revised.

The FF Plus knows that there are many good policemen and -women who put their lives at stake every day to bring criminals to book, but the police will need to compile action plans to restore the public's confidence in the service.

Crimes, like domestic violence, can be combated more effectively by establishing a good relationship of trust between the police service and the public as victims will be more willing to report such crimes and identify offenders, which will inevitably lead to more convictions and sentences.

The FF Plus sent an official question to the Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko, enquiring about the number of claims lodged against the police in Gauteng, how many members of the police and security services have been internally and criminality prosecuted and so forth.

It is the police force in Gauteng's duty to ensure the people's safety and to regain their trust and, therefore, the misconduct of undisciplined police members, whose salaries are paid with tax money, could not be tolerated.

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