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By Editorial staff

Journalist


Unhappy police officers a recipe for disaster

While we acknowledge that you will never keep everyone happy in their jobs, 65% of dissatisfaction is a large percentage of unhappy workers.


For a long time, the public’s trust in the South African Police Service (Saps) has waned. Trust in their ability. Trust in their work ethic. And trust that they will actually serve and protect you in your time of need.

Insufficient resources, corruption, incompetence and just sheer low confidence in our police has led us to this feeling, even though it doesn’t apply to all in the navy blue.

Now an internal survey, conducted by its research division and answered by about 1 600 participants, shows more than 65% of police officers are not “looking forward to going to work when they wake up in the morning”.

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It’s no wonder then that our police are generally not trusted, and have such a poor record in crime prevention. Can you imagine dragging yourself out of bed each day to spend your day, often risking your life, and not wanting to be there? Of course, you are never going to give it your all then.

Saps research division’s Brigadier Kobus Schwartz, section head, specialised and tactical research, said: “This comes with 51.7% of police officers saying they do not have adequate resources to perform their daily duties. We need to be careful of underlying issues within the Saps. With more than 61.63% of the respondents thinking Saps was not winning the war against crime, it was demoralising many officers because it seemed their efforts meant nothing.”

Dissatisfaction in their salaries, and frustration of not climbing the ranks as fast they had wanted to by a certain age was also among the biggest gripes taken from the survey. About 50.88% disagreed that Saps even cared about them.

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As Lizette Lancaster, manager of the Crime Hub at the Institute for Security Studies, said, we have had a serial crisis of police leadership and “desperately needed urgent leadership reform, assessment on competency, capability and lifestyle audits”.

While we acknowledge that you will never keep everyone happy in their jobs, 65% of dissatisfaction is a large percentage of unhappy workers. Fixing leadership within Saps will go a long way in rectifying these concerns. The people have spoken.