THE first time I tried to join the SAPS (in 1997), there was a moratorium on hiring. The second time (in 2002), SAPS required prospective candidates to have a valid driver's licence, which even these days is a lively source of bribes for corrupt traffic cops.
Denied and frustrated, I first worked as bodyguard, then joined the army and after that spent some time in and out of the private security industry.
Along the way, I developed skills in surveillance, counter- surveillance, systems planning and control, leadership, tactics, choreography, situational awareness, etc.
Most of what I listed above is lacking in our cops' repertoire, because armed or not, they seem to be easy prey for the assorted scum out there.
The first question is what on earth are cops being taught in police colleges these days?
Second, why isn't SAPS leadership doing anything about it, such as hiring experts in armed and unarmed combat, surveillance, counter-surveillance, etc?
Not to be funny, but though the Irish Republican Army was regarded as the toughest, most capable and competent terrorist organisation of the 20th century, only 314 members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary died in the line of duty between 1922 and 2000, whereas the SAPS loses at least 100 cops every year to mostly disorganised and stupid criminals!
If there's a lack of suitably qualified instructors in SAPS, perhaps the government ought to hire some ex-RUC members to teach our protectors how to survive in dangerous urban and rural environments, because I am sick and tired of reading the never-ending lists of murdered South African cops.
M Negres, Port Elizabeth