The South African Police Service (SAPS) has revealed that the number of police reservists has dropped by 82% since 2010.
In 2010, the number of police reservists stood at 63 592 and were used to man stations as all officers were out on the streets to protect the thousands of visitors for the FIFA Football World Cup. One year later there was a moratorium on the taking on of reservists.
The policy was changed, which excluded 70% of the existing experienced and dedicated members and now, eight years later, the total number has dropped to just 11 015.
Despite the increase in population figures over the past five years, the numbers of police in SA are currently the lowest over the five-year period yet it is rare to find a station with more than a handful of active reservists – who put in long hours for the benefit of the country at no cost whatsoever.
This is alarming especially considering that, at the end of the March this year, there was one just police officer for every 375 South Africans.
The under-resourced and under-capacitated SAPS is battling to contain the high rates of crime in South Africa and police reservists should be welcomed with open arms as they play a vital role as a force multiplier in providing support to the core contingent of our police service.
“Rural communities are especially affected by the lack of policing and the DA has repeatedly called for the introduction of Rural Safety Units.
The steep drop in SAPS reservists means that South Africans, and farming communities in particular, continue to live in fear. Equally our SAPS members are so stretched, they are set up for failure,” said Dianne Kohler Barnard – the DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Police .