Cape Town - 090127 - At Khayelitsha's Nonceba Hall on National Police Day there was a meeting to help organize how local organizations could assist the police in dealing with community issues. Photo by Skyler Reid.

Cape Town - The police detective service needs a turnaround strategy, Parliament's portfolio committee on police announced on Thursday night.

The problems facing the service were discussed during a workshop, hosted by Parliament, and attended by various groups.

Acting committee chairperson Annelize van Wyk concluded the meeting by saying an official report would be adopted later, and that MPs wanted it to be given to the National Assembly, and to Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

“The committee requests the detective environment, together with the civilian secretariat of police develop a comprehensive response to the challenges identified, that it becomes a programme driven by the ministry and not left to general management of the SAPS, where it runs the risk of being put on the back burner,” she told delegates.

The committee wanted to know the actual number of detectives in the SAPS and their training needs.

“Furthermore, under the leadership of the civilian secretariat they must identify scientific research about the ideal number of detectives and an implementation plan to reach that,” Van Wyk said.

A headcount by SAPS suggest the police service had 23 539 detectives and that 4 982 of them were untrained.

Godfrey Lebeya, the deputy national commissioner responsible for detective services and forensics, later acknowledged there was perhaps a need to bring in retired detectives to mentor juniors.

On criticism from rights groups and forensic experts, the committee resolved that crime scene management training must be available to all SAPS members.

Here, the committee also called for private partnerships for training officers.

It was responding to independent forensic scientist David Klatzow, who said there were currently no forensic courses available in the country, only apprenticeships in police.

“In terms of career pathing and promotions, the dialogue resolved that a separate career path strategy for detectives be developed and implemented as a matter of urgency,” Van Wyk said.

The promotion of people without specific skills for their new roles was also a major concern during the workshop.

Parliament wanted promotions to be addressed in the white paper on policing, and form part of legislation when the SAPS Act was looked at.

“The dialogue recognises the lack of proper management at station and branch level and asserts the notion of first qualification and then appointment.”

She said corruption was demoralising detectives.

“We need a clear message and examples of zero tolerance and we request the help and role of the unions in this. We do not want to see union representatives defending people that are corrupt.”

The committee's researchers would present a final report on the dialogue to the committee soon for adoption. - Sapa