Today's Big Stories

Police and the challenge of public trust

Response to Police Minister interview

Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko yesterday had a briefing with Parliament's Police Portfolio Committee on plans to implement the Marikana report.

Nhleko said a panel of experts would be appointed to review public order policing and take a very significant step in driving a change management programme within the police force.

Mandy Wiener this afternoon spoke to the Head of Governance, Crime and Justice Programme at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), Gareth Newham about what Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko said on the John Robbie show earlier today (see below).

Newham said it is encouraging that the police ministry is taking the Farlam findings seriously and this is significant for true public legitimacy. He added that it's a positive thing that Nhleko also acknowledged the problems with the police.

Newham added that the police service is indeed facing a challenge with public trust and that good policing and intelligence that worked for the police in the past seems not to be working right now.

Said Newham:

Police need to know that the men and women leading the police service are individuals of impeccable integrity... and that they are honest is beyond reproach... and that they're skilled and experienced; that they understand how the police men operate and understand policing. They are able to plan and put in place a strategy with clear objectives that moves the organisation forward.

Gareth Newham, Head of Governance, Crime and Justice Programme at the Institute for Security Studies

He also added that President (Jacob Zuma) needs to act as matter of urgency on the (Riah) Phiyega issue.

Nhleko on the John Robbie show

This morning, Nhleko spoke to 702's John Robbie about plans for the police service and his vision for fighting crime in the next five years.

Nhleko told John:

If we are to deal with the Commission's recommendations, you would have to embark on change management of sorts. It's broader than public order policing.

Nkosinathi Nhleko, Minister of Police

You have a bulk of people in the policing environment doing the best they can and of course there are challenges. We should be concerned about issues of negative image of the police and trust issues between police and members of the public; there's quite a bit of work that needs to be done in engagements between [the] police service and members of the public... to dent the issue of this negative image.

Nkosinathi Nhleko, Minister of Police

Asked about making a decision or advising the president on issues with Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega, Nhleko said:

I don't think that is of relevance really. I know that we are dealing with institutional work and work needs to be done. I've never been a Minister in this portfolio before, what I do know is that it is an issue for the President to effectively deal with. I don't know what the established practice has been on dealing with this matter, whether I will be asked to advise or not; I really don't know.

Nkosinathi Nhleko, Minister of Police

Nhleko's message to the public was:

This is the only institution we have got in South Africa that we can use to deal with issues of peace and stability in our society. We appeal to members of the public to continue to support the work of the police.

Nkosinathi Nhleko, Minister of Police
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