This week 19 police officers, who were among those who graduated at a passing-out parade at Vygieskraal Stadium in Athlone last week, will be bolstering the ranks of Athlone police station.
A total of 1 324 of the 1 926 trainees who completed their training at Bishop Lavis and Philippi police academies will be based at police stations in the Western Cape.
Sergeant Zita Norman, based at Athlone police station, said the extra officers would bring in more manpower and police visibility.
“There were about six vacancies at the police station and all have been filled now. The officers will be deployed into the community with the more senior officers and also help out in the charge office as well on police patrolling, community complaints, and assist with crime prevention,” said Sergeant Norman.
SAPS spokeswoman Colonel Elna de Beer said the graduates had been declared competent to serve and protect the community after completing the basic development learning programme.
Their training included crowd management, as well as a workshop on the South African Electoral Act for their deployment during the local government election, which takes place today, Wednesday August 3.
At last week’s passing-out parade, Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane, acting national commissioner, said he was confident the entry level constables would serve the community well.
“We have high standards, and the trainees have signed the code of conduct to serve our communities in an equal manner, all people, irrespective of colour and creed,” said Lieutenant General Phalane.
National Police Minister Nathi Nhleko urged the trainees on the parade to do their job legitimately and ethically in order to gain maximum respect from the community.
“You are ambassadors, not only for the police service, but for the entire government, because most people have the first interaction with government services through the police and policing,” said Mr Nhleko.
“This is the start of a new journey. At times, it will be perilous, sometimes it will be enjoyable, but in all instances, act in the way that would best mirror what you would like to hear as positive testimony by those whom you serve”, he added.
Aziza Kannemeyer, chairperson of the Athlone Community Police Forum (CPF) welcomed the additional manpower. “Athlone has been short of staff, like most other police stations, for a very long time. These members can be utilised for patrols in the areas and at our hot spots. The average police officer takes two to four years to gain the necessary experience and training for the job. We need more visible police officers with rank as well as for more detectives,” said Ms Kannemeyer.
Mr Nhleko added that this was also a start of a new journey in self-development.
“You should read without ceasing. Enrol for further studies and continuously challenge yourself to improve. Being informed improves your confidence. I wish you well in your future, and do us proud,” he said.