Half of Western Cape detectives lack basic training, says shocked MEC

Community safety MEC Albert Fritz says he is shocked by the findings of a provincial government investigation of detectives.
Community safety MEC Albert Fritz says he is shocked by the findings of a provincial government investigation of detectives.
Image: Philani Nombembe

Nearly half of SAPS detectives in the Western Cape have not had basic detective training.

This is one of the findings of an investigation of detective services in the Western Cape by the provincial community safety department.

MEC Albert Fritz said on Tuesday the investigation had identified serious shortcomings which were "deeply shocking".

Of the 2,785 detectives at 150 police stations in the Western Cape in the second half of 2017:

  • 45.8% had not received basic training;
  • 91.7% had not received specialised training;
  • 88.2% had not been trained to investigate fraud; and
  • 57% of detective commanders had not completed the requisite training.

"Unfortunately, not only are there resource shortages and a lack of training among our detectives, but they are also completely overburdened," said Fritz.

Half of detectives had a caseload of more than 200 dockets each, when the norm should be 50-60, he said.

"The Western Cape does not have enough detectives to investigate the spate of criminality and gangsterism in the province," said Fritz.

"There is a shortage of 548 detectives in the Western Cape and 142 posts are vacant. The assessment further highlighted that there is a need to allocate an additional 443 posts to priority stations in the Western Cape.

"Without these detectives, conviction rates for gang-related crime will remain low."

Fritz said the findings on inadequate training meant detectives were not capable of investigating gangsterism and organised crime, "but their lives are equally put at risk when they are out in the field as they do not understand the dynamics at play".

During the investigation, Fritz said, 875 criminal cases were monitored and 85% of them were struck off the court roll.

Fritz said he was alarmed by the finding that 71% of detectives had no informants.

"For detectives to become proactive in their fight against crime, they must strengthen their intelligence-collection capacity by using the legal framework and funds made available to them," he said.

"This will allow them to recruit and use informants within communities, without which they will not be able to proactively predict and prevent crime."

The head of detectives in the Western Cape, Maj-Gen Jeremy Vearey, is one of the candidates in the running to take over as Western Cape police commissioner when Lt-Gen Khobinkosi Jula moves to KwaZulu-Natal.

SowetanLIVE has asked the police to comment on the report unveiled by Fritz.

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