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SAFETY & SECURITY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
11 February 1999
DISCUSSION ON POLICE RESTRUCTURING
Documents handed out
Outline/ slide presentation on proposed police service restructuring.
The Divisional Commissioner for Management Services presented on the proposed restructuring of the police force, covering the rationale for the restructuring as well as the planned changes. The committee members then asked questions regarding the proposed changes.
Chairperson Molekane opened the meeting and invited the Divisional Commissioner to proceed with his presentation.
The Divisional Commissioner began his presentation by discussing the motivations involved in the police force restructuring. He said that the key motivation was to increase the effectiveness of the police force, which will be accomplished in several ways:
1. By enabling responsible managers to focus on operational (crime) issues.
To give one example, the current Commissioner for Operational Response has all sorts of other responsibilities, including personnel services, career management, and so on.
2. To establish a separate capacity to deal with developmental and maintenance issues. This will enable the relevant manager to focus more on human resource development as opposed to just human resource administration.
3. To align structures with government policy. The police force is not currently geared to implement policy papers put forth by the government; they must be organised in a way that enables them to deal with new policies as they come out
Moving forward, advertisements have been placed for the new Divisional Commissioner posts, and will close on 1 March 1999. In terms of implementing the new framework, five teams have been established, with guidelines for how to proceed.
The Divisional Commissioner continued by explaining that the proposed restructuring would result in ten functional divisions, instead of the five that currently exist. The new divisional structure, with associated responsibilities, would be as follows:
Management Services, responsible for strategic planning, anti-corruption and internal audits, and Information Management. Info Management would be linked to the Police Services Information Systems, which will be transferred and linked to the new State Information Technology Agency.
Crime Prevention, responsible mostly for policy and standards, as well as community policing.
Operational Response Services, to cover operational planning, public order, and border policing.
Two new divisions would be created to split between two very separate and different functions of the police force: Crime Intelligence, to focus on preventing crime, and Detective Services, to focus on responding to crime.
There is also a significant change in the Human Resources structure, in which three divisions are broken out: Personnel Services, Career Management, and Training. This split enables administrative and support functions to be separated from development functions in terms of training and career management.
Additionally, the following two divisions have been split in the new structure, where they previously were under the same division: Financial and Administrative Services, and Logistics. This split is recommended because it is not appropriate for the people who deal with finances to also be the ones who deal with procurement.
After this description of the new administrative set-up, the Divisional Commissioner concluded his presentation.
Chairperson Molekane then invited the committee members present to direct questions to the Divisional Commissioner.
Mr. Gibson (DP) asked how many head office members would be eliminated in the new plan, and what impact the restructuring could be expected to have on reducing and solving crime.
The Divisional Commissioner replied that in terms of dispensation of workers, this is part of a continuing process – 700 jobs have already been eliminated at the national level. The target was 1,000 per year (3,000 over 3 years), and given that this is still the first year, they are on track to meet their goals. In terms of crime reduction or crime solving, the Divisional Commissioner answered that while it is not possible to say what impact the restructuring will have in terms of numbers, the new system should increase police capacity to solve and reduce crime through increased emphasis on detective training and criminal intelligence.
A committee member asked what the real motivations are for the restructuring, what it will mean in terms of results, and over what timeframe those results will be realized.
The Divisional Commissioner replied that the real motivations are improving the effectiveness of the police force. Development is currently being neglected, and managers spend much of their time on crisis management. The new structure will help focus on functional areas to improve the effectiveness of the police force. The Divisional Commissioner feels that results will be seen over a three to five-year timeframe.
Chairperson Molekane pointed out that the document that the Divisional Commissioner presented today was not as detailed as the document circulated in December, which had much more of a focus on the rationale for the restructuring.
Mr. Ndlovu (IFP) asked whether the purpose of the restricting was to employ more people at a management level, and how the new structure would impact the visibility of police on the ground.
The Divisional Commissioner answered that the proposal had to date led to the creation of five additional management posts, although that was not the explicit intent. A number of people will ultimately be released from the national level and move down to local levels.
Chairperson Molekane added that the commitment to cut head office levels had not changed, nor had the commitment to increase the numbers of police on the ground. He reminded the committee that 700 people have been released from the head office already, and as police colleges are closed, the process of headcount reduction will accelerate.
A committee member asked why human resources had been split into three separate branches, when there was an obvious and important overlap between the functions of the different HR branches. He also wanted to know why, given that this was the first proper briefing held on the new structures, adverts had already been placed to fill the new posts.
The Divisional Commissioner replied that one of the four Deputy National Commissioners would have as his responsibility the oversight of the three HR branches, to make sure that the branches were integrated effectively. On the issue of adverts being placed, the Divisional Commissioner replied that while this was the first briefing to be held on the subject, the proposed structures had been available to committee members since December, offering plenty of time to review the changes and raise any objections.
A committee member asked how the restructuring impacts positively on the transformation that the Divisional Commissioner spoke of.
The Divisional Commissioner replied that it will affect transformation by giving them the capacity to focus on development, not just administration.
Mr. Vilakazi (ANC) asked how the restructuring will take account of representivity.
The Divisional Commissioner replied that the police force is committed to achieving representivity, and it will be addressed in the appointment process.
Mr. Bloem (ANC) asked why there needed to be four Deputy National Commissioners.
The Divisional Commissioner replied that the four Deputy National Commissioners are to oversee two different strands of the new structure – one in charge of Crime Prevention and Operational Response Services, one in charge of Crime Intelligence and Detective Services, one in charge of the three HR strands (Personnel Services, Career Management, and Training), and one in charge of Financial Services and Logistics.
Mr. Bloem (ANC) asked how the restructuring will impact the police service at the Provincial level.
The Divisional Commissioner answered that once the process has been completed at the national level, they will assess its effectiveness and discuss what to implement at the Provincial level.
Mr. Kgauwe (ANC) stated that the original discussion that the Committee had on the new structure was very different from what was presented by the Divisional Commissioner, and asked for an explanation.
Chairperson Molekane said that the Police Act gave the Commissioner the power and prerogative to take the initiative on the restructuring, as long as he consults the Committee.
The Chairperson then closed the discussion on police force restructuring. He mentioned that the next meetings would be:
Tuesday 16 February for the first budget briefing (he has not yet determined whether this meeting will be open or closed).
Friday 19 February for a continuation of the budget discussion.
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