You can predict which of your own will commit crime, says Jenny Reid, MD of iFacts.
It’s probably come as no surprise to thousands of South African’s who deal with it on a day-to-day basis, that the latest crime statistics show an overall increase in criminal activity. With a 4,6% increase in murders and an unacceptably high level of sexual offenses, the situation remains grim, to put it politely.
However, one of the more startling comments made by Police Minister Nathi Nhleko at the 2015 National Crime Statistics press conference last week related to one about the police being unable to predict which of “their own” would become criminals. The 2014/15 stats revealed that 686 police officers were arrested for various crimes in the past financial year.
According to the Minister, the standard pre-employment process is to check police candidates for criminal records, visible tattoos and then send them to a police “grooming” camp. We beg to differ, but surely a far more rigorous and continuous screening process is absolutely critical for those men and women who are being recruited into the SAPS?
The minister made an absolutely shocking comment when he said that maybe sangoma’s have the power to predict who would engage in criminal activity, but not ordinary HR practitioners. I doubt thousands of victims of police crime and brutality would find an ounce of humour in that tactless remark.
While it’s a great relief that officers don’t have criminal records, when hired, according to another comment made by the Minister, the overwhelming increase in crime and corruption should provide a clue that the current processes are far from adequate.
If a rigorous employment screening and, even more importantly, a comprehensive Integrity and behavioural assessment, was performed on police candidates prior to them entering the SAPS, I am quite sure that far fewer potential criminals would slip through the cracks wielding weapons, uniforms and far too much power. If these pre-employment processes are becoming standard policy within the private sector, I see no reason why they should not become standard practise for our law enforcement system, which is clearly in crisis.
There’s a good reason why integrity testing and behavioural assessments are a far more accurate way to assess potential candidates. With these tests often being based on the principle of cognitive dissonance, it becomes far easier to identify people who justify high risk or illegal behaviour. It’s easier to lie about your past than it is to cheat scientific methodology, which is designed to measure an individual’s level of integrity.
Given the number of top cops and officials who have been involved in crime and corruption over the past decade, we clearly have an urgent requirement for integrity testing as a necessary qualification for key jobs, and this should be implemented right from the bottom, to the very top of the ranks.