The restructuring of the police service was causing a drop in morale, South African Police Union spokesperson Barries Machakela told a seminar in Pretoria on Wednesday.
”We support restructuring, but the way it is done is not proper. Morale is low, members are disillusioned,” he said.
He said an agreement signed in 2006 to increase the numbers of police officers at police stations had not included closing down specialised units, a practice that was currently under way.
Units such as the narcotics bureau and the family violence, child protection and sexual offences unit had been disbanded or ”migrated”.
Institute for security studies senior researcher Johan Burger said history had shown that integrating special units into the police led to neglect in certain areas.
When the railways police was integrated into the police in the 1980s, railways suffered, he said.
”History shows us that we have to be careful about just shutting things off.” — Sapa