It has emerged that the South African Police Service (SAPS) is making plans to reduce the number of crime fighters in the country by 3000.
This revelation was made in its 2017/18 annual performance plan report which was recently tabled in Parliament. The report specified that plans are being made to slash the number of officers from 194 431 to 191 431 by 2019/20.
Although the Police Ministry contended that the reduction wouldn’t hamper the progress it’s making in the fight against crime, the plan has been met with much fiery criticism.
To cite an instance, IOL reported that Johan Burger, a senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) pointed out that the SAPS plan is strange when one considers South Africa’s crime rate.
The country has experienced an increase in violent crimes in the last four years, noted Burger.
“All indications are that these will increase. We’ve also seen a rise in public violence in the last decade,” he added.
Having said that, Burger wailed that “the police are spending millions each year on paying out civil claims.
“It looks like they are trying to save money in crucial areas in order for them to pay out these huge amounts,” he said.
Similarly, Mireille Wenger, the Western Cape spokesperson on community safety lamented that the plan to reduce the number of crime fighters is disturbing.
According to Wenger, the Western Cape province already has 900 fewer police officers than it did in 2013.
“The news that the national ministry is cutting the number of police posts is very worrying, especially since we already have a large shortage of police.
“This means that the actual number of police personnel serving our communities is shrinking,” cried Wenger.
Nonetheless, the South African Police Service has maintained that the reduction won’t hold back performances.
The reduction “is not expected to reduce the department’s overall performance over the medium-term, as most of its performance targets in relation to the investigation and detection of crime will remain constant over the medium-term,” stated the Ministry.