The Portfolio Committee on Police welcomes the 7.46% increase in the Budget of the South African Police Service (SAPS) to further intensify the fight against crime.

“The Committee is of the view that the Police Budget of R87bn in the next financial year should be utilised in such a way that it ensures an accelerated implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP) goals for policing and ultimately lead to improved visible policing in all communities,” said Committee Chairperson, Mr Francois Beukman.

Mr Beukman said the professionalisation and transformation of the police service should be number one priority of the SAPS in the coming budget cycle so as to ensure heightened trust levels in the police.

The Committee also welcomes the pilot project of R100m on front-line delivery to improve service delivery, but urges that the focus should be on under-resourced police stations and those in the informal settlements and deep rural areas.

The Committee strongly believes that SAPS should also prioritise the monitoring of the performance of cluster and station commanders. As such, the Committee will focus of this critical process during the budget process. The training and upskilling of station commanders is a prerequisite for attaining improved service delivery levels at police stations across the country, and as such, attention needs to be given to staff development.

The Committee further welcomes the allocation of R 2.5bn over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period to build, upgrade and maintain police stations.

“Over this period, we will have to scrutinise plans to build 63 additional police stations which are estimated to cost R588.3m. Currently, there are various delays in the building of new police stations and the department will have to submit a turnaround strategy to ensure that the set target is achieved,” said Mr Beukman.

Furthermore, the implementation of the Farlam Commission’s recommendations is a high priority for the Committee. The allocation of R242m in 2017/18 and R355.8m in 2018/19 for this purpose should empower Public Order Policing units to obtain the necessary equipment and resources as stipulated in the Farlam Commission’s report.

The Committee will also have to be briefed on the progress regarding the development of replacement vehicles for the Nyala armoured personnel carriers.

Another issue the Committee will be keeping its eye on is the huge increase of 26% in the budget for machinery and equipment, adding that this provision places an onus on police management to ensure that under-resourced police stations, especially in the townships, informal settlements and deep rural areas, receive the necessary equipment and vehicles.

The Committee is, however, concerned about the smallest nominal increase allocated to the Crime Intelligence Division in the 2017/18 financial year when compared to previous financial years. In this regard, the Committee will interrogate the SAPS leadership over this, saying proper resourcing of crime intelligence capacity is critical for effective intelligence-driven policing.

Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa

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