Detective Dialogue recommendations: progress report by Civilian Secretariat for Police & SAPS

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21 May 2013
Chairperson: Ms A Van Wyk (Acting) (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Civilian Secretariat of Police gave a progress report about implementing the Portfolio Committee recommendations for the SAPS Detective Service. The recommendations followed the Detective Dialogue held on 5 September 2012. The mandate given to the Secretariat by the Committee was that it work in coordination with SAPS in responding to the recommendations. The Secretariat and SAPS was to draft a united presentation, with the Secretariat leading as it was responsible for policy. However the Committee voiced its concern and dissatisfaction with the progress reports given by SAPS and the Secretariat for Police.

Members’ main point of dissatisfaction was about the absence of clear and attainable timeframes on the policies. Members were also frustrated that the Secretariat and SAPS had not worked together in drafting their presentations. As a result there was a lack of coordination. No costing or implementation plan was presented by either structure. The Committee asked the two to do more work in implementing the recommendations. They were instructed to come back with timeframes, proper costing and an implementation plan. The Detective Dialogue had resolved that SAPS and the Civilian Secretariat for Police establish the actual number of detectives. A skills audit should be done to identify the training needs of these detectives. Furthermore, the ideal number of detectives must be established using a scientific model appropriate to the South African context, under the leadership of the Civilian Secretariat for Police. The Minister of Police had declared last year as the Year of the Detective because of concern about the success rate of detectives in the country. Their success was key when it came to crime-fighting efforts and improving the conviction rate. Thus it was important there was a proper plan for taking the Detective Service forward and to professionalize it. There were contradictions in the two presentations and Members found this to be discouraging since the Committee was clear in its recommendation that the process should be led by the Civilian Secretariat of Police as the policy driver. It was important that within the public service, and specifically SAPS, the understanding of the differentiation between policy and implementation be recognized. Policy was the domain of the executive and structure followed policy and budget.

Meeting report

Opening remarks
The Chairperson requested that the Secretariat begin with its presentation, seeing that its mandate was to deal with policy matters. The South African Police Service (SAPS) would then follow presenting its operational mandate. In the following meeting Members would be discussing the introduction of the DNA Bill, and should therefore be well prepared for it.

She added that if there was one lesson to be learnt from the Waterkloof Air Force Base incident, it was that public officials should know where their responsibility started and where the responsibility of the Executive was. This also applied to delegated power. The Secretariat of Police thus represented the Minister’s policies. The operationalization of the policy followed the policy and not the other way around. For this reason, the Secretariat was expected to lead the presentation.

Civilian Secretariat of Police (CSP) presentation on SAPS Detective Service
Ms Jenni Irish-Qhobosheane, Secretary of Police, introduced the delegation from the Secretariat. The presentation would be covering the policy framework which informed SAPS’s turnaround strategy. The policy framework also spoke to the White Paper and there were no contradictions.

Mr Faizel Ally, CSP Director: Policy, explained that the policy framework was informed by the dialogue which took place on the 5 September 2012 and was supported by the Minister himself. The policy framework was introduced to address some of the 15 recommendations made by the Portfolio Committee on Police. These recommendations would be addressed by the Civilian Secretariat and SAPS. Against this backdrop, the Civilian Secretariat had drafted the policy framework which needed to be developed into a policy linked to the White Paper. The policy framework would also guide the SAPS in its approach to the Detective Service and the turnaround strategy.

He acknowledged that in order to make a positive impact on crime, the Detective Service alone was not the only key factor to consider. The fight against crime therefore rested on two critical aspects: improving the rate of detection and ensuring that sanctions were meted out for the crime which had been committed. The second was a focus on prevention of crime overall. These two approaches were of an international standard. Police investigation and detection required great sophistication and training. The policy needed to drive forward-thinking; it needed to provide clear direction on how to go about addressing issues such as technology for example. So in order to improve the capacity of the police to investigate crime, sufficient resources needed to be allocated for detection, and the relevant skills and techniques of detective personnel needed to be improved. The following government structures would assist the Detective Service in reaching its goals, and in the successful implementation of the strategy:
● Criminal Justice Revamp 7 point plan
● Ministerial 10 point plan
● National Development Plan 2030
● Detective Dialogue.

Mr Ally added that the growth patterns and spending patterns within the Detective Service were looked at from 2003/4-2012/3. Over the years the Detective Service had grown both in numbers and in budget allocation. In 2003/4 the Detective Service was allocated R 3.7 billion, and in 2012/13 this allocation grew to R 13.1 billion; an amount which comprised of 20.9% of the budget vote for the 2012/13 financial year. Currently, there were 20 553 general detectives at local stations, and these excluded the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (DPCI). Internationally, the standard was 20% of the police service was allocated to the Detective Service. However in the South African case, the Detective Service made up about 19% of SAPS. However not all detectives were carrying dockets and the figures included both actual detectives and managers at cluster, provincial and national levels. The number of detectives on the Resource Allocation Guide (RAG) and those on Persal were however not aligned. On RAG the number of detectives was 26 736 for 2011/12 and 28 813 for 2013/14. According to international standards, South Africa’s Detective Service was currently under staffed. The Criminal Justice revamp was also looked at; this suggested that the number of detectives should be in the region of 33% of SAPS operational structure, but this was currently not the case. The actual average workload for detectives was 76 cases on hand per detective.

A skills audit indicated that there was a rapid growth in the number of detectives since 2002 to date. As a result, the focus was not on skills development of detectives within SAPS; people were being appointed with have received proper training. In 2002, detective personnel was 9 721 within a police population of 131 263. In 2012, detective strength was 23 701 within a police population of 199 345; this indicated a 6.87% growth over this period. SAPS acknowledged that there needed to be an alignment between skills development and appointment. To address this, SAPS adopted a three prong approach to train detectives:

● Resolving of Crime (ROC) training that occurred for personnel already members of SAPS
● ROC training of new recruits who would then be deployed to the Detective Service
● Short term intervention training for SAPS members already deployed as detectives but who had not been trained

SAPS therefore undertook a skills audit which focused on generic operational and training needs for detective personnel as part of their turnaround strategy. The policy framework for the Detective Service included:

Size of detection services:
Mr Ally argued that determining the ideal number of detectives was a dynamic process influenced by various factors; however the most important factor was to understand what the profile of a good detective was. The ideal number of detectives should therefore be based on the actual local station staff and management rather than on an international standard.

Recruitment and training:
Recruitment and training were a key component for improving the detection services in SAPS. Both the Minister’s 10 point plan and NDP 2030 vision spoke to professionalism and excellence as being the main standards to consider for selection. Recruitment at point of entry should therefore be discouraged, and a minimum number of years at service should be adopted. The recruitment process should therefore provide for a probationary period before final confirmation, where quarterly evaluation reports were made available. There also needed to be active marketing of the Detective Service to attract personnel to the Detective Service as a career choice. Crime scene management was also another area of focus.

Career pathing:
Internationally the use of vertical growth opportunities is used as opposed to just horizontal progress; therefore the Detective Service needed to have a clear retention strategy.

Management and leadership:
A mentorship programme for detectives needed to be formalised and would be included in the strategy. There was therefore a need to ensure that there was a standardised approach to management within the detective’s environment. This would be formalised through SAPS Standing Operating Procedures (SOPs). This would take into account existing management tools within the SAPS environment and these included:
- Tracking of dockets and investigation processes
- Quality checks
- Crime stats etc.

The role of detective management needed to be clearly defined and linked to a clear set of objectives, targets and performance indicators. These performance indicators needed to provide the framework and basis for regular assessment and monitoring.

Intelligence-led policing:
Mr Ally said that alternative ways of policing would be explored; as a means to try and improve the traditional reactive model of investigating crime. As a way to encourage forward thinking, problems experienced by detectives in processing crime information should be identified and addressed.

The challenge of varying language was one raised by the Committee; as such the Detective Service looked into the exploring model used during the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup. Added to that, embassies and universities would also be consulted to establish a database of personnel who can assist in this regard.

Technology was considered to be an integral part for the successful implementation of intelligence-led policing. The current skills capacity of detectives thus needed to be improved; detectives needed to be well equipped to handle technological advancements such as the e-docket and other future advancements.

Any strategy aimed at improving the Detective Service and reducing crime needed to be centred on valuable partnerships. There were Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) and formalised partnerships within the Detective Service; the problem was taking these down to detectives at lower levels. National partnerships therefore needed to be filtered down to station and provincial levels.

The Chairperson thanked the Secretariat for the presentation and indicated that the presentation documents were not complete. The committee secretary was asked to make sure that Members received the complete documents. The SAPS was asked to deliver its presentation so that Members could compare the two presentations and assess whether they were aligned.

SAPS Response to Detective Dialogue recommendations by Portfolio Committee on Police
Lieutenant General Seswantsho Lebeya, Deputy National Commissioner: Crime Detection, introduced his team of delegates. He confirmed the apology relayed by the National Commissioner who was unable to attend. He said the Detective Service would present first, followed by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) and Forensic Services.

Detective Service
Lt-Gen  Vineshkumar Moonoo, Divisional Commissioner: Detective Service, began by giving an outline of the Human Resources available at Detective Service. At station level there were 20 533 detectives, 341 at cluster level, 4 333 at special investigations, 481 at provincial level and 456 at divisional level. In total, there were 25 844 detectives under SAPS. A breakdown of the composition was 2 419 Commanders in total, 20 388 Investigators and 3 037 Detectives working at the Detective Service Centre.

The Chairperson asked what was meant by the Detective Service Centre.

Lt-Gen Moonoo explained that the Detective Service Centre was created so that detectives could be available immediately, 24 hours 7 days a week, at larger stations to give attention to reported cases. It was a frontline service to ensure that crime scenes were attended to immediately and that statements were taken immediately.

The Chairperson commented that the Committee had just gone through a week-long presentation with SAPS on its Budget Vote and raised a concern that this would surely have some financial implications.

Lt-Gen Moonoo continued that the total case workload for dockets was 1 314 957, this was the total as at 31 March 2013. While the 2008 Review of the Criminal Justice System report suggested that SAPS should employ a further 30 000 detectives to total 52 500 detectives, the RAG was currently under review which would determine the granted and funded posts. That would be finalised after the current normalization process.

As for the recruitment strategy, he said detectives were currently being recruited from Visible Policing who were already well experienced in statement taking, crime scene management, victim interviewing and empowerment, as well as suspect interviewing. Detectives were also recruited at entry level directly at the training institutions, and were sent for the full Detective Training Course (ROC) at the training institutions. Thereafter they were posted directly to the Detective Service.

With regard to training, training partnerships were being established with training institutions and 50 trainees from Gauteng would undertake such training at the University of Cape Town. As for training material, 21 786 laptop computers were purchased and distributed to the provinces for detectives to utilise during investigations. Mentorship was also being developed as part of the retention strategy. Human Resource Management was currently working on a methodology to recruit willing retired detectives to form part of the mentorship programme. With regard to career pathing, a retention strategy for the Detective Service had been drafted and was presented to the National Management Forum. A task team was appointed under the leadership of the Deputy National Commissioner for Human Resource Management to develop the strategy that would also cater for other environments.

Lt-Gen Moonoo said as a way of dealing with some of the management issues, a Ten Pillar Strategy had been developed to enhance management of the Detective Service and was implemented in the 2012/13 financial year. The strategy was revised for the 2013/2014 financial year so that it would be in line with the 2013/14 Annual Performance Plan, the Minister’s ten point plan, recommendations from the Detective Dialogue and the National Detectives Convention. The Detective Service had also established good working relationships and agreements with various departments and institutions.

The Chairperson said the Committee was very frustrated with the presentations. The Committee had been very clear in its instructions that they wanted a clear and coordinated presentation led by the Secretariat. However, there were already contradictions in what had been presented in terms of approach. For example, the focus of the Detective Service was on the RAG, while that of the Secretariat was on being ‘forward looking’. She asked whether SAPS had worked jointly with the Secretariat in preparing the presentation.

Ms Irish-Qhobosheane replied that even though there were some slight contradictions in the presentations there were no overall differences. SAPS and the Secretariat had not worked jointly on the presentations, however a number of meetings were held between the two.

The Chairperson said the Committee’s expectations were clear. The Committee wanted to know the exact number of active detectives in the country. SAPS was also asked to present a clear recruitment policy to the Committee. Other expectations included training, specialisation, career pathing with a clear focus on detectives, and improving services for women and children. All these needed to have clear and attainable timelines. She said that it was the last time that SAPS include DPCI as part of their presentation on detectives.

Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (DPCI)
Lt-Gen Anwar Dramat, DPCI National Head, said policy guidelines for the DPCI were in the pipeline, and the approval of these guidelines would initiate the work which needed to be done to improve policy. The DPCI had 352 members at Head Office; and a provincial breakdown was also given. In total, there were 2 294 active police members in this division. As for the number of detectives; there were 167 at Head Office and a total of 598 in all the provinces. In total, there were 2 196 investigators within DPCI, of these 426 were female and 1 770 were male.

The Chairperson commented that the presentations should outline only new information. It was not necessary to present the same information presented during its Budget Vote presentation.

Forensic Services
Lt-Gen Johannes Phahlane, Divisional Commissioner: Forensic Services, said the mandate of the division was to support the investigation of crime through the processing of crime scenes, application of forensic services and maintenance of criminal records. Its key performance areas were: management support, forensic science services, criminal record centre and accreditation. One of the key factors of importance was to capacitate forensic services.

Major General Adeline  Shezi, Head: Quality Management, Division Forensic Services, added that there was only one body responsible for accreditation within South Africa: the South African National Accreditation System and the division had consulted with them and laid out a plan for implementation. However consensus had not yet been reached, and as soon as agreement was reached between the Department of Trade and Industry and SAPS, the plan would be presented to Parliament.

The Chairperson said the Committee had been very clear about what it wanted from the Department’s presentation, so that the report could be elevated to the level of the Minister. However the response from the Secretariat and SAPS was not a consolidated one. It seemed as though SAPS was going ahead implementing certain decisions without consulting the Secretariat on policy. This was a huge concern. Added to that, the figures presented were still based on Persal, which was not in line with RAG. The number of detectives indicated was not a clear figure. Members still had no idea about where the active detectives were allocated. Had a skills audit of detectives been done? What were the training levels of all the detectives at all provincial levels? Serial trainees (who repeatedly went off for training to avoid work) was another matter of concern and SAPS needed to look into this.

In both presentations, no clear timelines had been given. Why had this been the case? What was the deadline of the RAG Review? What was the way forward after the RAG Review had been completed? There was therefore more work which clearly had to be done by both the Secretariat and SAPS. What had been agreed upon as the way forward? SAPS needed to read the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service Act in order for them to better understand the role of the Secretariat. The Secretariat was also urged to play its role. As for recruitment, there seemed to be agreement that recruitment needed to focus on current SAPS members rather than new recruits. However there were no timeframes on the implementation of this decision. Also, what was presented to the Committee on technology was in fact basic operational communication apparatus, not technology. How was SAPS going to ensure that detectives were computer literate by allocating cellphones to them?

On the matter of retired detectives, the Minister needed to sign the policy before SAPS even began to talk about its methodology. And this had not been the case. What was the implementation timeframe for the retention strategy? What role did the Secretariat play in developing the retention strategy? What was the relationship of the retention strategy with the broader policy? The presentation made by SAPS seemed to suggest that they wanted to reduce the number of vehicles; this was not the case. What measures were in place to improve detective management? Was there any alignment between the 10 points and the recommendations made by the Committee? She added that the language issue was a major one, and training members on basic English was not enough.

Mr D Stubbe (DA) said the presentations given did not address the problems with the shortages of detectives within South Africa. The standard was that 20% of SAPS members at police stations needed to be detectives, and according to the presentations, this was not the case. Instead there seemed to be a decline in the number of detectives within SAPS. How was this problem going to be addressed? As for the training of Gauteng SAPS members in training institutions why were these members being trained in Cape Town? Why did SAPS not forge partnerships with Gauteng universities to train Gauteng SAPS members, and use Cape Town universities to train Cape Town SAPS members and so forth? What partnerships did SAPS Detective Service have with other South African universities?

Ms D Kohler-Barnard (DA) asked about the Basic Forensic Crime Kit in each vehicle. However the presentations had made no reference to the kit. She also asked why the Department had bought over 21 000 laptops whereas only about 3000 detectives had received training? The concern was that by the time they were sufficiently trained, the laptops would be obsolete.

Ms M Molebatsi (ANC) asked whether RAG was found to be relevant at police stations. The Committee had visited many police stations. At not even one did they find that RAG matched the situation of the police stations. There was always a big gap. Also what did the detectives at the divisional level do, did they do actual detective work?

Ms D Sibiya (ANC) asked for an explanation on how the division allocated its cellphones to members. According to the presentations, there did not seem to be enough cellphones for all trained detectives.

Ms P Mocumi (ANC) asked about the target to train all detectives by 2014 in typing and computer skills; what was the target number of detectives to be trained? Also, how many detectives had been trained in specialised investigations such as sexual offences?

Mr M George (COPE) said the introduction of the presentation set a very good tone; however that tone got lost throughout the rest of the presentation. The matter of unclear targets and timelines was one of serious concern.

The Chairperson said she would allow the Secretariat and SAPS to respond, however a proposal was made that they both be called back with all the relevant timeframes. The Committee needed to be able to monitor the implementation of these timeframes. The Minister declared 2013/14 the Year of the Detective because there was a concern about the success rate of South African detectives. The detection and conviction rates needed to be increased and improved. The two were urged to come back with clear and attainable timeframes.

Ms Kohler-Barnard agreed with the Chairperson, and said that Members needed to complete raising their questions so that the issues they raised were ironed out before the Secretariat and SAPS appeared before the Committee again.

The Chairperson agreed that Members could continue to raise their questions; however there needed to be consensus that both needed to be called in for another presentation. Members were not satisfied with the presentations received. Structure and budget needed to follow the lead of policy.

Lt-Gen Lebeya said the various divisions would answer questions relevant to them. The draft retention strategy did not have timeframes because it was a draft, it had not been finalised.

The Chairperson said it was improper for SAPS to present information without timelines. The fact that it was a draft strategy did not exclude it from having relevant timelines. She asked if Members should expect the final retention strategy in 2018.

Lt-Gen Lebeya replied that those were some of the issues which SAPS would have to return and present on. On the question of detectives from Gauteng being trained in the Western Cape, he said that it was due to the partnership which SAPS had with the University of Cape Town. This partnership was financed by external stakeholders. Sponsorships were at the moment an issue.

Maj-Gen Shezi responded to the question on crime kits and said the crime kits were not yet available for all police vehicles. The roll out of these kits would be coupled with the training which officers received. Training in forensics was therefore in the process of being completed.

Maj-Gen C Kwena, Component Head: In-Service Police Development, Human Resource Development, said that of the 21 000 laptops bought in 2013/14, the 3000 trained officials were not the only trained officials to receive these nationally. On the question of trained detectives for specialised investigations, he said that the exact figures would be submitted to the Committee in writing.

The Chairperson said she could not understand how the delegation could come to such a meeting without these significant figures.

Lt-Gen Moonoo responded to the question on the kind of work done by detectives at various levels: provincial, national and divisional level. The response was that there was not much difference in the work which these detectives did at the various levels, they were all qualified to conduct investigations and inspections; which was the basic mandate of all detectives. He said that cellphones were not allocated to all trained members; they were first allocated to station commanders and the remainder to the rest of the team. As the budget became available, cellphones were then made available to detectives involved with investigations. Not every member could have a cellphone at this stage.

Ms Irish-Qhobosheane replied that the percentage of detectives at stations were based on different factors at the different stations. Therefore instead of trying to get a blanket percentage for all police stations, the ground work of each police station should be considered first. The emphasis of the Secretariat was to look at the number of detectives on the ground at local stations.

Mr Ally responded to the question on RAG and said the Secretariat had found nothing wrong with the system; and that it was an excellent tool. The understanding of RAG management at localised level was that it was supposed to inform resource planning. Therefore the issues were now about understanding the tool and using it efficiently for proper resource planning in the medium to long term. The Secretariat needed to be forward thinking, because the understanding was that the environment of the detectives was changing.

The Chairperson reminded the Secretariat that Mr George’s question had not been answered. She said it was frustrating to not see any clear planning and coordination between SAPS and the Secretariat.

Mr George said recruitment did not receive adequate attention in the presentations. The matter of crime scene management was also one of the biggest challenges within investigations. He agreed that both the Secretariat and SAPS had to come back with proper presentations.

Ms Mocumi asked what the ages of the oldest and youngest detectives were in the Detective Service.

Ms Kohler-Barnard asked about the existing DNA database and wondered whether the division was heavily involved in the drafting of the DNA Bill. She asked how many operational detectives SAPS had and how many of them had received adequate training. On the matter of cellphones, she argued that cellphones for field officers was very important. What was the Secretariat doing to ensure that these detectives had adequate resources?

Lt-Gen Lebeya replied that most of the information that SAPS had, it had shared with the Secretariat. However most matters were not finalised; they were still under discussion.

Lt-Gen Moonoo, responding about the age of the oldest and youngest detectives, said he would not be able to answer about the youngest detective but the oldest one was 59 years and would be going on pension soon. The number of operational detectives was 23 228, however all members did perform detection when required to do so.

Maj-Gen Shezi, on the question about the DNA Bill, said there was no established DNA database currently, and this was a contradiction and complication when it came to mining information from their existing databases. What was in operation was a case work repository where comparisons and match capabilities were conducted. From these, work case probabilities were worked out in order to link a person to a particular crime. Currently there was no established repository where statistical calculations could be worked out from and this was a challenge. The DNA database and the case work repository were therefore separate databases from which SAPS Forensic Services worked from. She confirmed however that the development of the DNA Bill was led by the Secretariat and the legislation would be presented in a week’s time.

The Chairperson thanked the delegation for the presentations and announced that the Committee Secretary would communicate the date for the next meeting with both the Secretariat and SAPS.

Adoption of Reports
The following reports were adopted without amendment:
Committee Report on Private Security Industry Regulatory Agency (PSIRA) Annual Report
Committee Report on 2013/14 PSIRA Budget, Annual Performance Plan and Strategic Plan
Committee Report on 2013/14 Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) Strategic Plan
Committee Report on 2013/14 Police Budget Vote 25 and Strategic Plan

The meeting was adjourned.


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