Chapter 11 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, provides that each province is entitled to:
- to monitor police conduct;
- to oversee the effectiveness and efficiency of the police service, including receiving reports on the police service;
- to promote good relations between the police and the community;
- to assess the effectiveness of visible policing; and
- to liaise with the Cabinet member responsible for policing with respect to crime and policing in the province.
It further provides that a provincial executive is responsible for policing functions-
- vested in it by the Constitution
- assigned to it in terms of national legislation; and
- allocated to it in the national policing policy.
In order to perform these functions, a province-
- may investigate, or appoint a commission of inquiry into, any complaints of police inefficiency or a breakdown in relations between the police and any community; and
- must make recommendations to the Cabinet member responsible for policing.
On receipt of a complaint lodged by a provincial executive, an independent police complaints body established by national legislation must investigate any alleged misconduct of, or offence committed by, a member of the police service in the province.
The Civilian Secretariat for Police Services Act of 2011
The Act provides for the establishment of a Civilian Secretariat for the Police Service at National level and Provincial Secretariats. The Act further define the objects, functions and powers of the Civilian Secretariat and provide for the alignment of the operations of the Civilian Secretariat in the national and provincial spheres of government.It also provides for the establishment of a senior management forum and a Ministerial Executive Committee (MINMEC) and aims to strengthen co-operation between the Civilian Secretariat and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate on the one hand and for co-operation between the Civilian Secretariat and the South African Police Service on the other hand. The act gives powers to the National Secretariat to intervene into the affairs of provincial secretariats where the latter is not able to fulfil its functions.
The implications of the Act are as follows:
- Provinces must review its organisational structures towards uniformity and align it line-function (Monitoring and Evaluation, Research and Partnerships, etc.) to that of the National Secretariat;
- The Secretariat is now responsible for all service delivery complaints against the police, which was previously a function performed by the ICD,
- The Act imposes an additional function of monitoring the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act. This function was previously a full-time function under the ICD;
- The national Secretary may at any time request the assistance of Provinces on any policing related matter, programme or project.
Free State Monitoring and Evaluation of South African Police
Police stations are monitored through individual station visits, clusters and specialised units in all districts in the province. Station management, the cluster commander or specialised unit commander provide information based on the operational plan of either the station or the specialised unit. The strategic documents, regulations and instructions in general are also looked at. The sub-programme monitoring and evaluation is responsible to monitor, evaluate and report on policing activities.
The following areas of policing (which formed part of the national instructions) were also monitored;
Sector policing means policing that focuses on small manageable sectors of a police station area. It is a tool to implement Community Policing. The purpose of sector policing is to;
- Perform targeted visible police patrols
- Ensure a rapid response to complaints
- Address crime generators
- Investigate reported cases
- Provide a localized policing service to the community in accordance with their respective needs.
For sector policing to be fully functional there are five phases that must be fulfilled;
- Phase One: Determine sector boundaries
- Phase Two: Appointment sector commanders and sector team
- Phase Three: Compile sector profile
- Phase Four: Establish sector crime forum
- Phase Five: Implement sector crime forum activities.
The Thabong Police Station is regarded as the police station in the Free State that has successfully implemented sector policing.
The Free State province was initially divided into three area offices as they were called by then. Area offices were disbanded after a national instruction was issued effecting the establishment of cluster offices. The province is currently divided into 18 clusters. The Monitoring and Evaluation Unit monitors the implementation of the responsibilities of the clusters and its effectiveness in ensuring that the people of the Free State are and feel safe.