Detective Services report confirms lack of training and under-resourcing | Western Cape Government



Detective Services report confirms lack of training and under-resourcing

23 July 2019

Detective Services report confirms lack of training and under-resourcing

The Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, welcomes the conclusion of the Department of Community Safety’s report on ‘the State of Detective Services in the Western Cape’. The report assessed the under-resourcing of the Detective Services, training competencies, the effect of under-resourcing on detection and convictions, and recommendations going forward. Please see infographic attached.

The Department has a Constitutional responsibility to exercise oversight over the SAPS. As such, an assessment was conducted over the Western Cape Detective Services which looked at the 150 Western Cape police stations operating between 1 July 2017 and 31 December 2017. The purpose was to assess the level of compliance based on the SAPS standards, prescripts and instructions.

Minister Fritz said, “Ultimately, Detectives are responsible for gathering evidence and facts for criminal cases. Their critical services include interviewing potential suspects, examining records and apprehending criminals. The quality of their work determines whether a case is solved or dropped. Unfortunately, not only are there resource shortages and a lack of training amongst our detectives; but our detectives are also completely overburdened. Upon concluding the assessment of the detective services, it was found that of the total detectives in the Western Cape, 48% had a case load of over 200 dockets per person which is 333% above the 50 - 60 case norm.”

Resources shortages

Minister Fritz said, “At present, the Western Cape does not have enough detectives to investigate the spate of criminality and gangsterism in the province. There is shortage of 548 detectives in the Western Cape and 142 posts currently remain vacant. The Assessment further highlighted that there is a need to allocate an additional 443 posts to priority stations in the Western Cape. Without these detectives, conviction rates for gang-related crime will remain low.”

Training Competencies

Of the 2785 detectives in the Western Cape:

  • 91.7% have not received training in the Specialised Detective Learning Programme;
  • 88.2% have not been trained to investigate fraud;
  • 57% of the detective commanders have not completed the requisite training; and
  • 45.8% did not complete the Basic Detective Learning Programme.

Minister Fritz said, “These numbers are deeply shocking as they highlight that many detectives have not received the adequate specialised training to investigate the organised and gang-related crime which runs rampant in the province. Not only are they insufficiently skilled, but their lives are equally put at risk when they are out in the field as they do not understand the dynamics at play.”

Effects of under-resourcing and lack of training

Under-resourcing and a lack of training have dire consequences on the detection of crime and safety of our citizens. Hence, 85% of cases monitored during the assessment were struck off the court roll. To break these figures down further, of the 875 cases monitored during the assessment:

  • 380 dockets did not arriving at court;
  • 417 investigations were not complete;
  • 37 witnesses were not present at court; and
  • 41 forensic reports were not available.

Minister Fritz said, “As an immediate and medium term strategy, we must begin to repair the trust and relationships between SAPS and our communities. This can only be achieved by addressing the myriad issues faced by SAPS. In turn, this will rectify SAPS’ reputation as a corrupt, inefficient and dysfunctional institution. Going forward this information will be presented to the Provincial Standing Committee on Community Safety who will further review the report as per the Constitutional powers of such a multi-party committee”, said Minister Fritz.

Poor Crime Intelligence

Minister Fritz was particularly alarmed by the finding that 71% of detectives have no ‘informers’. Minister Fritz noted that, “for detectives to become pro-active in their fight against crime they must strengthen their intelligence collection capacity by using the legal framework and funds made available to them. This will allow them to recruit and use informants within communities, without which, they will not be able to proactively predict and prevent crime.”    

Recommendations going forward

Following the conclusion of the report, the Department has subsequently made the following suggestions to rectify the state of the detective services:

  • Conduct a skills audit on all Station Commanders and Heads of Detectives;
  • Reprioritise the allocation of resources focusing on the local level in order to ensure adequate of human and physical resources;
  • Accelerate the destruction of firearms;
  • Ensure that the Heads of Detectives, Crime Intelligence Officers and Exhibit Officials be properly trained before effecting their appointments;
  • Ensure that a training and development plan for Detectives be developed; and
  • Provide periodic progress reports to the Minister of Community Safety, Standing Committee and Department of Community Safety.

Under the leadership of Minister Albert Fritz, the Department of Community Safety will use all the tools at its disposal, as outlined in Section 206 of the Constitution, to safeguard the residents of the Western Cape.

Media Enquiries: 

Cayla Ann Tomás Murray
Spokesperson for Minister Albert Fritz
Tel: 021 483 8550
Cell: 064 121 7959