Response of the south african police service to concerns raised during the public hearings
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RESPONSE OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN POLICE SERVICE TO CONCERNS RAISED DURING THE PUBLIC HEARINGS PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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RESPONSE OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN POLICE SERVICE TO CONCERNS RAISED DURING THE PUBLIC HEARINGS. OBLIGATIONS ON THE POLICE. Police must render assistance to the victim to - find suitable shelter; obtain medical treatment; and make a decision on the remedies at his or her disposal.

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RESPONSE OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN POLICE SERVICE TO CONCERNS RAISED DURING THE PUBLIC HEARINGS

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Response of the south african police service to concerns raised during the public hearings

RESPONSE OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN POLICE SERVICE TOCONCERNS RAISED DURING THE PUBLIC HEARINGS


Obligations on the police

OBLIGATIONS ON THE POLICE

  • Police must render assistance to the victim to -

    • find suitable shelter;

    • obtain medical treatment; and

    • make a decision on the remedies at his or her disposal.

  • Accompany victim to collect personal property

  • Record keeping (eg Domestic Violence Register)


Powers of the police domestic violence

POWERS OF THE POLICE: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

A police officials has the power to -

  • arrest the respondent;

  • seize weapons;

  • serve protection orders; and

  • enforce protection orders.


Issues raised during public hearings

ISSUES RAISED DURING PUBLIC HEARINGS

  • Non-compliance with obligations in terms of the Act and National Instruction

  • Failure to serve protection orders

  • Failure to arrest

  • Domestic Violence should be reportable crime

  • Seizure of firearms

  • Return of FSC Units

  • Role of female members to assist victims

  • Privacy of victims should be respected at stations

  • Role of CPF


Non compliance with the act

NON-COMPLIANCE WITH THE ACT

  • Section 18(4) provides that a failure by a member to comply with an obligation imposed in terms of the Act or the national instruction, constitutes misconduct and the ICD must forthwith be informed thereof

  • Any reported failure is investigated

  • If valid - disciplinary steps are taken

  • ONLY the ICD may grant exemption from disciplinary steps


Non compliance with the act cont

NON-COMPLIANCE WITH THE ACT (Cont)

  • Compliance by members is continuously monitored by –

    • station management

    • inspectorates at provincial and national level

    • Auditor General performance audit

  • New members are guided by Field Training Officers and receive continuous in-service training


Non compliance with the act cont1

NON-COMPLIANCE WITH THE ACT (Cont)

  • Non-compliance is addressed by –

    • providing directives, information and awareness material on an ongoing basis;

    • appropriate disciplinary action; and

    • continuous in-service training.

  • If station is found not to comply with Act, remedial steps are taken on the spot and reported to management to follow up to ensure compliance


Non compliance with the act cont2

NON-COMPLIANCE WITH THE ACT (Cont)

  • Statistics on non-compliance by members are collated on a monthly basis from stations and submitted to provincial offices, and then to the national office

  • Figures of non-compliance fluctuate. In current financial year, the national office visited 45 stations in all 9 provinces to establish the level of compliance. Non-compliance was only found at 10 stations


Failure to serve protection order

FAILURE TO SERVE PROTECTION ORDER

  • This issue arises from the misperception that only members may serve protection orders

  • Section 13 provides that a protection order must be served either by the clerk of the court, a sheriff or a peace officer

  • Police should only be utilized in cases where the victim is in danger of imminent harm


Failure to arrest

FAILURE TO ARREST

  • This issue arises from the misperception that members MUST arrest in certain circumstances (eg if a protection order is contravened)

  • If a protection order is contravened, the police may ONLYarrest the respondent if the member is of the opinion that the victim may suffer imminent harm if the perpetrator is not arrested

  • There is NO DUTY on police to arrest. A member has a discretion and must be satisfied that the victim is in danger of imminent harm before deciding to arrest

  • Community insists that members must arrest, even where the victim is not in danger of imminent harm, resulting in –

    • civil claims against police for wrongful arrest; and

    • loss of income of breadwinner and the family suffering.


Domestic violence reportable crime

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: REPORTABLE CRIME?

  • Domestic violence is NOT a crime

  • Only certain forms of domestic violence constitute crimes (eg murder, rape, assault, etc)

  • All incidents of DV are recorded in domestic violence registers while crimes are registered on Crime Administration System


Seizure of firearms

SEIZURE OF FIREARMS

  • Police are empowered to seize firearms -

    • if respondent threatened to kill / injure anyone by means of firearm / dangerous weapon; or

    • because of mental condition of respondent, his inclination to violence or dependence on substance with intoxicating or narcotic effect.

  • This is followed by an inquiry to determine fitness of the respondent to possess a firearm (sec 102 of Firearms Control Act)

  • A protection order may authorize the Police to seize firearms


Re introduction of fcs units

RE-INTRODUCTION OF FCS UNITS

  • Policy decision was taken to

    re-introduce FCS Units

  • This decision is currently being implemented and involves the selection, training and transfer of members


Role of female members

ROLE OF FEMALE MEMBERS

  • There is not enough female members to make a female member available at every station to attend to every victim of domestic violence

  • A policy decision was taken to recruit more female members and this is in the process of being implemented


Privacy of victims at police stations

PRIVACY OF VICTIMS AT POLICE STATIONS

  • Building plans for new police stations provide for areas where victims can be attended to in private

  • As far as may be possible within the available funds, similar areas are created during the upgrading of existing stations


Role of cpf s

ROLE OF CPF’s

  • Police team up with CPF’s to raise awareness in the community about -

    • the plight of victims of gender based violence

    • assistance that victims of domestic violence may expect from the police

  • CPF’s liaise with, and mobilize the community and community based organizations to assist victims of domestic violence by providing shelter, counselling- and other support services


Challenges proposed legislative amendments

CHALLENGES: PROPOSED LEGISLATIVE AMENDMENTS

  • Different protection orders are issued that are in direct conflict with one another because the magistrate is unaware of existing orders.

  • Members are placed in an untenable position and are expected to enforce contradictory orders

  • Proposal: All protection orders issued for or against a complainant should be presented to the magistrate before a protection order may be issued


Challenges proposed legislative amendments cont

CHALLENGES: PROPOSED LEGISLATIVE AMENDMENTS (Cont)

  • Disputes arise on what qualifies as “personal property” and the ownership of the property

    • Members are not in a position to adjudicate on such disputes

    • Members expose themselves to criminal charges if they mistakenly permit property to be taken by the complainant

  • Proposal: Court to determine and specify personal property that should be collected


Challenges proposed legislative amendments cont1

CHALLENGES: PROPOSED LEGISLATIVE AMENDMENTS (Cont)

  • Magistrates directing police to serve all protection orders

    • This sometimes result in police vehicles being permanently engaged serving orders and being unavailable to perform policing functions

  • Proposal: Clear delineation of circumstances in which the Police must serve a protection order.


Challenges proposed legislative amendments cont2

CHALLENGES: PROPOSED LEGISLATIVE AMENDMENTS (Cont)

  • No determined period of validity of protection order

    • Protection orders remain permanently in force even though the issue that gave rise to the application for the order may have been resolved and the complainant has lost the documents. The complainant cannot remember at which police station the order was lodged, but request enforcement of the order

  • Proposal: The period of validity of a protection order should be limited (eg 3 yrs), complainants may then request renewal upon expiry, if still required.


Challenges proposed legislative amendments cont3

CHALLENGES: PROPOSED LEGISLATIVE AMENDMENTS (Cont)

  • Discretionary power of member to arrest upon contravention of protection order

    • The discretion is too wide and create expectations that cannot be fulfilled

  • Proposal: Limit discretionary power to arrest by providing clear conditions before an arrest may be made


Challenges for the police

CHALLENGES FOR THE POLICE

  • Lack of shelters


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