Single police force will hurt law enforcement: researcher

19 June 2013 - 10:50 By Sapa
SAPS vehicle. File photo.
SAPS vehicle. File photo.
Image: Reuben Goldberg

A senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) has warned that local policing will suffer if a proposal to form a single police force is approved and becomes law.

The green paper on policing, which had just been published, recommended that legislation be amended to provide for a single police force according to Beeld.

In 2007 in Polokwane, the ANC passed a resolution that the country's metro police units be incorporated into the police, but was yet to be implemented.

The ISS's Johan Burger said it was clear the ANC felt "uncomfortable and threatened" by the idea that provinces and municipalities not under their political control could exert control over armed forces.

These were the provinces and municipalities in the ANC's sights, he said.

"If we have one police service, it will be chaotic. You will overload the police with responsibilities and local policing will suffer. National priorities will always override local priorities and it'll be a miserable situation."

In the green paper, government argued that a single police service would be in accordance with the Constitution, but Burger said the new document had remained conveniently silent on article 206 of the Constitution, which made provision for metro police.

"The ISS is very unhappy about it... They can't ignore the Constitution and that's what they're doing."

Democratic Alliance spokeswoman Dianne Kohler-Barnard, said the DA was opposed to a single police service.

"They're using the same argument that was used when they disbanded the Scorpions, but the Constitution allows for separate police services."