Western Cape community safety MEC Albert Fritz on Wednesday called on SAPS to strengthen police reservists following a “concerning” decline in the number of the safety officials in the province. File photo: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA).

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape community safety MEC, Albert Fritz, on Wednesday called on the South African Police Service (SAPS) to "strengthen" police reservists following a “concerning” decline in the number of the safety officials in the province. 

According to Fritz’s office, at the end of 2018, the provincial police ombudsman concluded a report on the "concerning" decline in the number of SAPS police reservists in the Western Cape, following a complaint lodged by then chairperson of the standing committee on community safety, Mireille Wenger. 

“Police reservists play an important support role to SAPS, acting as force multipliers in visible policing, administrative and operative functions. As per the report, police reservists strengthen police capacity during high crime periods, which we are no doubt experiencing,” Fritz said.  

“The decline has been attributed to, amongst others, reservists being dismissed for having criminal records, failure to perform the mandatory 16-hour voluntary service and voluntary resignations. The report concludes that the decline of police reservists places increased pressure on SAPS resources,” he added.

As the department implemented the premier’s safety plan, which would see additional law enforcement and investigators deployed in areas where and when they are needed most, it was essential that SAPS strengthened its network of police reservists, said Fritz.

“As per the report, the shortage of SAPS human resources results in an increase in response time, delays in responding to complaints, travelling of long distances in certain jurisdictions, and additional strain placed on resources due to the need to escort emergency medical services teams in red zones, or attending to mentally-ill patients. Clearly, police reservists have an important role to play in strengthening SAPS amid their resource constraints,” he added.

African News Agency (ANA)