Members bemoaned the state of inventory control at police facilities. There was concern over the removal of targets in certain areas. The pace of building had slowed down despite a massive increase in budget. Projects were protracted and subject to massive cost escalations. Members expressed their concerns over firearms control and the promotion policy. Promotions were being granted to those less deserving than their peers in several cases, while there were discrepancies on the promotion list such as the inclusion of members who had left the service.
Members were assured that many of the stories circulated about the Acting National Commissioner were false. Investigations were continuing into allegations of corruption. The supply chain management sphere had produced many cases of alleged corruption. The Police wished to return all matters concerned with buildings, rentals and maintenance to the Department of Public Works. While the Police did employ psychologists and psychometrists, there were too few to provide an effective service. While post-trauma counselling was mandatory, there was no mechanism to ensure that service recommendations were followed.
Programme 2 was Visible Policing. R28.7 billion was allocated to this programme, which included crime prevention, border control and special interventions. As with the other programmes, officers presented details of the budget, strategic priorities, performance indicators and targets for the financial year.
Programme 4 was Crime Intelligence. R2.5 billion had been allocated to this programme, which included the sub-programmes Intelligence Operations and Intelligence and Information Management.
Programme 5 was Protection and Security Services. R1.8 billion had been allocated. Sub-programmes were VIP Protection Services, Static and Mobile Security, Government Security Regulator and Operational Support.
Members raised several concerns as a result of the presentation, and emotions ran high at times. Detention policies were a major concern as were the backlogs in the issue and renewal of firearm licences, despite denials from the Police. No targets were set for operations relating to illegal alcohol and drugs. Members raised serious concerns about the dangers posed to the public by allegations of reckless driving by VIP drivers of the so-called ‘blue light’ convoys.
Members were concerned about the apparent lack of attention to stock theft in the borderline areas despite news that specialist units were being capacitated. There were backlogs at forensic laboratories. Sector policing was a proven model but Members doubted that the Police had enough staff to maintain the system effectively. Members were also concerned about the utilisation of crime intelligence officers. Members were not satisfied that there was enough value for money provided by this programme. The role of community policing forums was emphasised.
Members were very unhappy with what was perceived as a lack of commitment to the victim support centres which should be a part of every South African Police Service station. Good work was being done at some stations, but Members had the general impression that these centres were a burden on the Police.
Members were also extremely unhappy with other aspects of the budget. Money had already been spent on operational expenses even before the budget was approved. The Police were reminded that it was up to Parliament, as represented by the Committee, to approve the budget. They had reservations about approving sections of the budget.
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