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500 Detectives trained through anti-crime partnership

Today, the members of the South African Insurance Association (SAIA), Business Against Crime South Africa (BACSA) and the Gauteng SAPS celebrated the successful completion of the SAIA funded training of 500 detectives from the Gauteng SAPS. The Gauteng Premier, Mr Paul Mashatile delivered a keynote address saying the following about this important intervention:

“In line with our ongoing commitment to build a crime-free Gauteng, any initiative that seeks to improve investigatory capacity in the province is significant and is welcomed”, says Mashatile.

SAIA a key partner within the initiative said the following, “When we were approached by BACSA in 2007, we readily saw the merits and a wonderful opportunity to support the capacity-building within our SAPS Detective Services. The short-term insurance industry is adversely impacted by the unacceptably high levels of vehicle crime and insurance fraud, and we are concerned about the increases in house and business robberies. A detective training project with the potential to impact positively on all of these serious crime types is a logical place for the SAIA to contribute to the combating of crime in the province. We are inspired by the vision of a safer, more secure South Africa that can benefit all, and not just the industry. Targeted contributions from SAIA in excess of R 1 million per annum to fight crime through partnering with BACSA have led to decreases in vehicle crimes by 30% since 2002”, says Ronnie Napier, Chair of the SAIA Board.

BACSA CEO, Siphiwe Nzimande had the following to say of the initiative, “This is an example where business has tangibly contributed to the fight against crime. Investing in the people that work at the coal-face of crime scenes is a fundamental necessity. Without the successful collection of evidence from crime scenes, efforts to build trial-ready cases will not succeed. We hope that this training will lead to improved investigations; faster processing of cases through the courts, higher prosecution and conviction rates within the province. We congratulate the detectives who have completed the training today and commend SAIA for their unwavering commitment to this endeavour. Given the enormity of the crime challenge, partnerships such as these are critical,” says Nzimande.

The Gauteng Provincial Commissioner, Mr P. Naidoo, thanked both SAIA and BACSA for their support. “This training of detectives will go a long way towards improving service delivery. We want to strengthen partnerships and we look forward to continuing with partnerships such as these in order to fight crime more effectively”, says Naidoo.

Siphiwe Nzimande adds that “this initiative must be seen within the broader context of efforts to improve the performance of the Criminal Justice System as a whole. A Criminal Justice System with competent law enforcement agencies which performs at consistently high levels will deter crime. This is a dream of every law-abiding citizen and business in the country. Such an initiative takes us closer to realising that dream.”

The initiative was the idea of Provincial Commissioner Naidoo and the SAPS leadership who approached BACSA to leverage support from the business community for improving the capacity and performance of Gauteng detectives. At that time, it was identified that the low levels of training of detectives was contributing to a large number of investigated cases being withdrawn by prosecutors. This was a serious concern as cases in South Africa need to be proven beyond reasonable doubt. However, unless detectives in the Gauteng SAPS had sufficient capacity to manage the complex nature of investigations at all levels, this outcome was unlikely.

Two initial pilots were conducted in 2007 capacitating 41 detectives on confessions and admissions, statement-taking and report-writing, investigative interviewing, crime scene and stress management. The evaluation of the pilot found that all detectives benefited from the training without exception and their confidence; skills-levels in managing investigations, and obtaining evidence from crime scenes had improved. With the pilot showing the desired results, a more extensive roll-out to detectives was fully supported by SAPS Management in Gauteng.

“This is where SAIA came to the party and saw the value of sponsoring formal training for the SAPS which would augment the skills and capacity of detectives to manage their day-to-day duties more effectively. The course itself was customised to meet police requirements but also brought the best that business had to offer in terms of expertise. The training provider, PACE Consultants is SASSETA accredited, and specialises in training that supports high impact interventions and sustainable outcomes. It is our hope that the success of this initiative will be rolled-out to other priority provinces in the country as the business case for this is now compelling”, says Lorinda Nel, BACSA Project Manager responsible for the initiative.