SAPS passing out parades for SAPS trainees who have successfully completed the Basic Police Development Learning Programme. Picture: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - Police Minister Bheki Cele encouraged 3701 new police recruits to be upstanding officers in their communities and to continue the fight against gender-based violence.

Cele addressed the final passing out parade of the year after the new recruits completed their two years of intensive training through the Basic Police Development Learning programme.

There was a high turn-out of supporters for the new graduates, and three passing-out ceremonies took place simultaneously at the Tshwane Training Academy in Gauteng, the Bhisho Academy in the Eastern Cape and the Oudtshoorn Academy in the Western Cape.

Of the 3701 newly trained officers, 2370 are male while 1331 are female. Tshwane had the bulk of the graduates with 2445, Bhisho had 825, and 431 graduated from Oudtshoorn Academy.

One of the Oudtshoorn Academy graduates, Zakhe Mbiko, 21, said she was very happy to have made it.

“It wasn't easy but it was worth it. I coped till the end,” she said. Apart from physical training, Mbiko said they had also been taught how to deal with people from all walks of life and how to conduct themselves as officers of the law. The group of graduates is the third cohort under the revised Basic Police Training Learning Programme that was introduced in 2016.

While welcoming the graduates, Cele said their first task was to fully join in Operation Quiet Storm, and the Safer Festive Season Campaign that was launched recently.

He urged the graduates not to allow themselves to be corrupted by criminals, relatives and “even your commanders”.

The revised police programme includes an induction phase of one month that is intended to familiarise trainees with the police station environment and the overall basic activities of community service centres.

The trainees then proceed to one of the SAPS training academies for a period of eight months, where they are trained as police officials.

Once completed, members are then deployed as fully fledged constables to their various police stations across the country, where they serve a one-year probation period.

National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole told the graduates that they could no longer act independently and that they were now part of a huge organisation with nearly 200000 employees who need to work together as a collective.

Sitole said they would need to continuously learn and apply what they had been taught, and improve their policing skills.

“We need members who can think out of the box and who can act proactively,” Sitole said.

“Criminals are continuously changing and improving their modus operandi, and you always need to be a step ahead of them, and you must always have the interests of the people you serve and protect at heart.”

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Cape Argus