Barking up wrong tree

THE more the police top brass try to explain the move from a police service to a police force the more ridiculous it sounds. Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa's latest attempt would have been funny had crime and policing not been such an important issue.

THE more the police top brass try to explain the move from a police service to a police force the more ridiculous it sounds. Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa's latest attempt would have been funny had crime and policing not been such an important issue.

Mthethwa has told a group of businesspeople that there was a need to move from thecurrent civilian-based management to a more military-style command structure because, while managers needed to listen and consult, commanders merely barked orders that had to be carried out without question.

As with the fixation with changing the law, ostensibly to give police officers greater powers to act in self-defence, Mthethwa is again barking up the wrong tree.

Security experts have been saying for a very long time that the problems with policing are not so much about what you call those in charge.

Mthethwa needs to get his ducks in a row and stop mouthing empty slogans.

At the heart of our policing problems is the lack of skills and leadership to detect and fight crime.

Our cops are known to be unable to shoot straight. Many more battle with the language skills necessary to capture information from complainants that will be useful should a matter go to court.

These problems were there before the beat was called a police service, and unless they are dealt with with the same zeal as the "shoot to kill" chant, they will be there regardless of what name is placed on the police badge.

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