The administration of metropolitan police services in South Africa: a case study of eThekwini Municipality.
Naidoo, Rubandra Deenadaya.
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Section 206 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa makes provision for the establishment of a municipal police force. The Police headquarters houses the Chief of Police as well as the 2 Deputy Heads (Operations and Logistics). The purpose of the municipal police is to enforce bylaws, traffic control and crime prevention within the municipal jurisdiction. As the population is growing, there are more vehicles on public roads, with an increase in motor vehicle accidents. Crime rates are increasing continuously, and bylaw infringements are occurring daily. The onus lies with the municipality to ensure that law and order is always maintained. This includes the enforcement of municipal bylaws. This research was conducted to examine the management of the Durban Metropolitan Police Services due to the constant negative publicity and lack of service delivery highlighted in the media. This negative publicity has consequently demoralised staff and policemen have become less interested in serving the community. This research used a qualitative narrative design and open-ended questions to get in-depth information from the respondents, who work in the operations and management of the Durban Metropolitan Police Service. Data was collected in the form of interviews, with 6 Senior managers including the head and deputy head, as well as 2 focus groups consisting of 15 inspectors and captains. Findings showed that political interference in daily operations and as an influence in promotions, led to low staff morale, which in turn led to a decline in service delivery. Political interference has created high levels of discord amongst police officers, and this has also affected the private lives of the police officers as this has increased their levels of stress. The research concluded by recommending a framework to improve service delivery and staff morale. It recommended that key vacancies be filled with competent people who are passionate about service delivery. This will alleviate a lot of the problems that the Durban Metropolitan Police Service is facing i.e. the shortage of uniformed police officers. The appointment of additional staff will alleviate the pressure on the current workforce. The research also found that political inference in the administration of the Municipality has created divisions amongst the staff who lose focus on their primary function and this also leads to a decline in service delivery. Nepotism is also prevalent in the police force. It was recommended that more stringent checks be done prior to recruitment. The research showed that the current policies are not followed stringently when employing or promoting individuals.