Tattoos often serve as a canvas for personal expression, telling stories and emphasising belief but their significance runs deeper than ink on skin. However, having tattoos has prevented many capable individuals from joining the South African Police Service (SAPS).
SAPS is always looking to increase the number of boots on the ground to make South Africa a safer place for all its citizens. It aims to recruit suitable individuals who meet all the requirements to become a police officer.
To qualify for a role within the SAPS applicants must meet several requirements. One of these requirements is that you cannot be have a tattoo which will be visible if you wear a uniform.
The University of South Africa’s (Unisa) Dr Dumisani Mabunda says the tattoo issue shouldn't hamper the recruitment process as SAPS needs more boots on the ground.
I do not believe that looking at the aspect that you raised earlier on of tattoos should be hampering the recruitment process. We need boots on the ground.
Proposed changes to the recruitment policy would allow recruitment of such individuals as long as the tattoos are not visible while they are in police uniform. Maunda emphasised the importance of increasing the number of police personnel to combat rising crime rates.
They believe that as long as candidates meet the necessary criteria set by the police, the aspect of tattoos should not hinder their recruitment.
If an individual meets all the criteria, they should be qualified to be enlisted in the police.
Maunda supports increasing the age limit for police recruits, seeing it as a way to address youth unemployment in the country. They explain that increasing the upper age limit from 30 to 35 to align with the definition of "youth."
They also highlighted the importance of retaining experienced detectives and attracting them back to the force, even if they have left for better-paying opportunities in the private sector.
We really need to reconsider this, but the worrying factor is that very few police who have left are willing to come back because they offered good movies out there.
They stress the need for more investment in detective training and specialisation.
An additional requirement is that only South African citizens can qualify as recruits. Maunda suggested that the country should prioritise recruiting from within before seeking expertise outside, provided that nepotism and corruption are addressed.