Saps meaning

The meaning of SAPS is South African Police Service. The South African Police Service (SAPS) is the national police force of the Republic of South Africa. Its 1 154 police stations in South Africa are divided according to the provincial borders, and a Provincial Commissioner is appointed in each province.

The South African Police Service (SAPS) is the national police force of the Republic of South Africa. Its 1 154 police stations in South Africa are divided according to the provincial borders, and a Provincial Commissioner is appointed in each province. The nine Provincial Commissioners report directly to the National Commissioner. The head office is in the Wachthuis Building in Pretoria.

The Constitution of South Africa lays down that the South African Police Service has a responsibility to prevent, combat and investigate crime, maintain public order, protect and secure the inhabitants of the Republic and their property, uphold and enforce the law, create a safe and secure environment for all people in South Africa, prevent anything that may threaten the safety or security of any community, investigate any crimes that threaten the safety or security of any community, ensure criminals are brought to justice and participate in efforts to address the causes of crime.

Divisions

South African Police Service headquarters in Pretoria is organised into six divisions: the Crime Combating and Investigation Division, the Visible Policing Division, the Internal Stability Division, the Community Relations Division, the Supporting Services Division, and the Human Resource Management Division.

The Crime Combating and Investigation Division holds overall responsibility for coordinating crime and investigative procedures. It administers the Criminal Record CentreCommercial Crime UnitDiamond and Gold BranchNarcotics BureauStock Theft Unit, the Inspectorate for Explosives, murder and robbery units located in each major city, and vehicle theft units throughout the country. In addition, the division manages the National Bureau of Missing Persons, which was established in late 1994.

The Visible Policing Division manages highly public police operations, such as guarding senior government officials and dignitaries. Most government residences are guarded by members of the division’s Special Guard Unit. The division’s all-volunteer Special Task Force handles hostage situations and other high-risk activities. The Internal Stability Division is responsible for preventing and quelling internal unrest, and for assisting other divisions in combating crime.

The Community Relations Division consults with all police divisions concerning accountability and respect for human rights. The Supporting Services Division manages financial, legal, and administrative matters. There is also a large reserve division.

Rank structure

The current ranking system of the South African Police Service was adopted in April 2010. The change caused some controversy as new ranks like “general” and “colonel” have a military connotation. Furthermore, the new rank system mirrors the system used by the South African Police during the apartheid era. In 2009, Deputy Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula spoke of making the police a paramilitary force by changing the SAPS ranking system so that it would closely mirror the military ranking system. This created a significant amount of controversy from people critical of what they called the “militarisation” of the police.

The ranking system was amended in 2016. The role of regional police commissioner was introduced, with the rank of lieutenant general. The major and lieutenant ranks were eliminated, with lieutenants assuming the rank of captain and majors assuming the rank of lieutenant colonel.

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