Some Jo'burg cops can't do job properly, says chief

Some of Johannesburg’s metro police “don’t know how to do the job properly” and need the training they are getting from United States experts, says the city’s police chief.


Some officers in the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) were lazy and corrupt, Chief Superintendent Chris Ngcobo said on Wednesday.


“They sit there, they are unfit, they don’t know how to do the job properly.”


Ngcobo was briefing reporters about the training JMPD members were receiving from the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) ahead of the 2010 Soccer World Cup.


This was aimed at bringing the skills of the city’s police on par with their United States counterparts.


Ngcobo said when the JMPD was formed in 2001, it absorbed traffic officers and basic guarding staff who did not have the required policing skills. Since then, each had acquired a matric, and between 30% to 40% had university degrees.


He wanted to increase the number of officers with degrees and improve their communications skills.


His aim was to model the JMPD on the New York city police and the FBI, and to instil the sense of professionalism and pride he had observed whilst there.


Ngcobo said he was inspired by the potential to reduce crime by at least 20% in South Africa by applying some of the tactics he observed while visiting the Los Angeles Police Department and the New York City police.


He said that when officers pulled someone over for a fine they had to have the skills do deal with the initial venting of the person they pulled over, and leave them with an overall sense of professionalism.


“We no longer have the days of ‘skiet and donner’,” said Ngcobo, describing an apartheid-era police force who would moer (clobber) people to secure an arrest.


“We have got to be professional ... to read you your rights….”


Specific training was also needed for the metro police’s evidence collection procedures and the FBI were well placed to teach them the best approach.


They also needed driver training to handle car chases safely and had to learn to keep themselves safe on the streets.


The current training was to teach officers—26 from the JMPD and seven from the South African Police Service—how to detect money laundering by drug or terrorist groups, and credit-card fraud.


They would be expected to transfer their knowledge to their immediate colleagues, and completion of future similar training courses would be required to move up the ranks of the department.

“We are not just training people for 2010 ... life goes beyond 2010.”—Sapa

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