The South African Police Service is on a massive recruitment and training drive – here’s what they are looking for

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Police minister Bheki Cele has confirmed that his department will significantly ramp up recruitment and training in the coming months as the South African Police Service (SAPS) plans to add significant capacity.

Responding in a recent written parliamentary Q&A, Cele said this is provided for in the estimates of national expenditure for 2022, which will allow the SAPS to hire an additional 12,000 entry-level constable posts.

7,000 of these entry-level positions will be appointed in the 2022/2023 financial year, with the remaining 5,000 recruits added in the 2023/2024 financial year, he said.

“In addition to these posts, 3,000 posts were advertised in the 2021/2022 financial year and these members will undergo training in the 2022/2023 financial year. Therefore a total of 10,000 recruits will be trained in 2022,” he said.

“All the basic police development academies and some of the in-service police development academies, in the SAPS, including the training centres of the South African Defence Force (SANDF), will be utilised for training. The Covid-19 protocols are considered and the SAPS academies are adhering to the protocols and containment of Covid-19.”

The most recent annual report from the SAPS showed that the department had approximately 182,120 employees. This figure includes both active police officers and administrative staff, as follows:

  • 21,396 commissioned officers;
  • 122,075 non-commissioned officers;
  • 37,840 Public Service Act employees.

These reduced employment figures effectively give South Africa a police to population ratio of 1:413, from 1:347.

In a presentation to parliament in mid-July 2021, the police service said it lost a total of 32,662 staff through natural attrition between 2016/17 and 2020/21.

Over the same period, it employed 20,959 employees through new recruits and lateral entrants, resulting in a net loss of 11,703 members.

Police recruits undergo a Basic Police Development Learning Programme (BPDLP) when they enlist in service.

Upon recruitment, a memorandum of agreement is entered into between the SAPS and the police recruit for a contract period of 24 months. During this period, the recruit will be a police trainee and will undergo the Basic Police Development Learning Programme.

The purpose of the Basic Police Development Learning Programme is to enable newly-appointed police officials to –

  • Use a series of legal and policing skills to protect and serve members of communities in accordance with the Constitution of South Africa; and
  • Provide a more effective service that will improve community satisfaction and position them to fulfil their mission of creating a safe and secure environment for all who live in South Africa.

Read: South Africa likely to enter stage of violent instability: study

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