Department of Correctional Services officials are now receiving managment training to assist them in coping with the increasing stress of dealing with large volumes of prisoners. A warder at an East London Prison keeps a close eye on prisoners. 241006 Picture: Steve Lawrence

Parliament - More than 900 police officers were charged in the past three years for helping with an escape, but only 40 of them have been fired, according to Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko.

In a written reply to a parliamentary question, tabled on Friday, he said 907 police officers had been charged with "aiding an escapee" during the 2010/11, 2011/12 and 2012/13 financial years.

Of the 907 charged, 288 were found not guilty, while 516 were found guilty. A total of 103 of the cases were withdrawn.

Of the 516 found guilty, only 40 were dismissed.

According to the reply, 231 police officers were fined, or counselled (10), or issued a verbal warning (14), or a written warning (93), or a final written warning (70), or suspended without pay (six), or received a suspended sanction or suspended dismissal (63 and 111 respectively).

The question was posed by Democratic Alliance MP Dianne Kohler Barnard.

In a statement on Friday, Kohler Barnard criticised what she described as a "complete lack of accountability" in the service for crimes committed by policemen and policewomen.

"It is indeed outrageous that aiding escapees, a crime that undermines our criminal justice system in the most fundamental way, has led to virtually no consequences for those involved."

The DA would call for a full investigation into the matter by Parliament's police portfolio committee.



* The number of fired policemen was initially reported as 30, but was subsequently corrected by Sapa.