NATIONAL NEWS - Unions have given the South African Police Service (Saps) the green light to embark on its restructuring programme.
The initiative is intended to cut costs within the service, address a top-heavy structure, and to put more boots on the ground.
In a statement on Sunday, Saps said that it had entered into a collective agreement with the unions at the Safety and Security Sectoral Bargaining Councils.
The agreement with the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) and the South African Policing Union (Sapu) was made on 30 November.
As part of the process, the police service has already started to offer early retirement packages to employees aged 55 and older.
In addition, it will reduce the four current Deputy National Commissioners to three and rationalise the current thirteen divisions to 10.
Popru welcomed the agreement while Sapu said the restructuring process would see the service get rid of its “bloated” top level and the re-establishment of specialised units to address specific crimes.
“The process will unfold in a phased-in approach and will cascade resources from Head Office Divisions, Provinces and Districts down to police station level and specialised units where the core functions of policing are implemented,” the Saps statement read.
It added that senior managers would be redeployed and that it would be strengthening policing at “grass roots level”.
“The matching and placing of members into the new structure will be done by the committees which are being established by the National Commissioner at both National and Provincial level.
“This process will also inadvertently address the directives of National Treasury to scale down on the compensation budget.
As part of the restructuring process, Saps will implement the District Development Model of policing.