The South African Police Service (SAPS) has announced the commencement of training of over 2000 reservists and security officers at its academies nationwide.
The cohort previously served as reservists in the SAPS.
In a statement on Thursday, the SAPS said the reservists and security officers, who were appointed as constables as of 1 December 2020, officially commenced their training as constables on Monday.
"The move to appoint and subsequently train these reservists as permanent members of the SAPS aims to bolster capacity and ensure more boots on the ground to service communities," police spokesperson, Colonel Athlenda Mathe, in the statement.
Reservists are individuals who in their respective communities voluntarily offer their services to the SAPS by assisting officers on the ground in crime-fighting initiatives.
"Prior to their appointment as reservists, they undergo a selection process that requires them to submit themselves to psychological assessments as well as physical and medical examinations as determined by the National Commissioner," said Mathe.
She said successful applicants are then subjected to an in-service training programme called the Reservists Development Learning Programme. This is a three-phase training programme inclusive of theory, practical and tactical and firearm training.
"This training provides the reservist with the necessary skills to ensure that the reservist is developed in the policing field to safely and effectively perform his or her duties."
Their roles and responsibilities include performing duties within the Community Service Centre, patrols, security guard duties as well as administrative work under the supervision of a SAPS official.
Health and safety protocols
The SAPS said, in line with its health and safety protocols and adhering to regulations for the containment, management and prevention of the spread of COVID-19, only 2 469 reservists out of 2 504 reported to the eight training academies nationwide.
"A variety of reasons including health related matters led to some of them being turned away. To minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19, reservists were expected to produce a medical certificate confirming that they had tested negative, 48 hours before they were expected to report for training.
"As a result, 14 reservists whose tests came back positive were not able to report for training and are currently self-isolating," said Mathe.
Three streams of recruitment
The decision to capacitate service points and units with reservists was taken during a Recruitment Indaba in July 2019 in Pretoria.
The Indaba saw the introduction of three streams of recruitment for the organisation. These streams are inclusive of the Basic Police Learning Development Programme and the Introductory Police Learning Development Programme.
Stream 1 (Normal) consists of applicants in possession of a Senior Certificate / National Senior Certificate / National Certificate (Vocational); and or applicants who successfully completed the Military Skills Cadet Development Programme with the South African National Defence Force; and current serving Public Service Act Personnel within the SAPS.
Stream 2 (Graduate) consists of applicants who have fully completed a three-year National Diploma / Degree recorded on the National Learner Record Database (NLRD) on at least a NQF 6 or higher level in Law / Policing / Criminology / Law Enforcement / Forensic Investigation.
Stream 3 (Reservist) consists of permanent enlistment of current active serving Reservists (to be employed as constables with permanent service benefits)
"The posts to appoint these reservists was advertised internally in the SAPS while stream 1 and stream 2 posts were advertised externally on 22 September 2019."
From this, she said, 4 682 reservists applied. Among these were security officials who had undergone the prescribed Reservists Development Learning Programme.
Mathe said applicants were subjected to the various selection processes.
These were inclusive of psychometric, integrity and physical fitness assessments and interviews, where after the Provincial Police and Community Recruitment Boards finalised the recommendation and or selection of applicants.
She said with the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions, the SAPS reviewed the training plan and deemed it fit to commence with the selection processes and subsequent training of stream 3 applicants.
"It is worth noting that the selection process for stream 1 and 2 is still on hold and applicants will be informed when this process will resume," she said.
The SAPS also consulted extensively with external role-players including organised labour.
The newly appointed constables are expected to undergo a four-month training programme which will see them developed in several fields to enable them to serve as men and women in blue.
Upon successful completion of the programme, members will be deployed to serve at stations, service points and units in their respective communities.