Inefficient SAPS Call Centre Leaves Citizens Hanging

John Moodey MPL

DA Gauteng Provincial Leader and Deputy Spokesperson for Community Safety

Up to 60% of crimes that are reported to the South African Police Service (SAPS) via the 10111 emergency hotline go unanswered according to The Star today.

The Gauteng SAPS call centre was relocated to Midrand at a cost of R50 Million. The centre was established to centralise and improve service delivery to the citizens of the province. However, a lack of training for call centre agents and supervision by SAPS members has defeated the purpose of the new centralised system.

Until a two years ago, police reservists were deployed at the call centre over weekends to assist during peak call periods. There has been a marked decline in the efficiency of the call centre since this action was taken and has resulted in a slump in service delivery. Civilian staff are employed as operators, which is good as trained police officers are needed on the beat and not behind desks, however from middle management and upward professional police officers should be incorporated to ensure proper oversight and accountability.

A centralised call centre is a positive step in dealing with the high volumes of emergency calls made on a daily basis, yet it is equally important that the correct monitoring and evaluation systems are in place to ensure effective turnaround times and policing. Many private companies have effective monitor systems in place. Often supervisors will listen in to ensure that customers are receiving the best possible assistance. This too should be enforced by the SAPS as citizens have the right to effective service delivery.

I will write to the Community Safety MEC Faith Mazibuko with recommendations on how to ensure the citizens of this Province receive the best possible service from the SAPS.

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