The high crime levels in South Africa necessitated the establishment of Metropolitan Police Departments in South Africa, a new phenomenon, starting with the Durban Metropolitan Police Department in March 2000, followed by the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) in March 2001. Since their establishment, Metropolitan Police Departments have not escaped criticism that they are underperforming, specifically on their ability to reduce crime. The JMPD is not exempted from these criticisms, and doubts started mounting on its ability to sustain the City of Johannesburg’s (CoJ) objective of becoming a world class city by the year 2030.
Criticism by the public through the media necessitated research into their recruitment and selection processes in order to understand how these are undertaken. This would assist in improving the performance of police officers and the department as a unit. This research targeted police officers within the JMPD on operational and management levels as respondents with the objective to investigate and gather information pertaining to their perceptions on recruitment and selection within the department. A research questionnaire that focused on gathering information was developed and classified into four sections. Section A focused on biographical information of respondents, race, gender, occupational rank and number of years of experience in the JMPD. Section B gathered data on respondents’ perceptions on recruitment. Section C gathered data on selection processes, and Section D sought to gather information that is more general in nature.
It is evident from the findings of the biographical data in Section A that despite legislative requirements contained in the Employment Equity Act 55 of 1998 that requires public institutions to be representative of race and gender, that progress in this regard is slow. The findings in Section B paint a picture that points to the discontent of police officers regarding the manner in which the recruitment and
selection processes are undertaken, and point to police officers within the JMPD being unfamiliar with the Talent Acquisition Policy (TAP, 2010). It was found that more than half of the respondents perceive that recruitment and selection within the JMPD does not consider skills and experience during selection, which could mean that the JMPD tolerate favouritism and nepotism, a situation which if not prudently attended to could lead to low employee morale and subsequently brain drain.
Last, the findings of general comments were dominated by references to the formal requirements that applicants need to acquire in order to be appointed either as sergeant or inspector. These skills include written, decision-making and communication and academic qualifications. Applicants with necessary skills can perform better as opposed to those that do not possess these skills. The research concludes by offering recommendations for each of the four sections of the research.
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