A policewoman ensures public safety by maintaining order, responding to emergencies, protecting people and property, enforcing motor vehicle and criminal laws, and promoting good community relations.
They must display courage and perseverance, along with compassion and understanding when responding to challenging calls. These qualities are not strictly male or female traits, but ones that help make a good police officer - no matter what your gender.
Police recruits undergo a Basic Police Development Learning Programme (BPDLP) when they enlist in the South African Police Service (SAPS). If you choose to apply to SAPS trials you will be subjected to fitness, psychometric and integrity testing, and medical evaluations. If you qualify, you have the option to become a police official or a civilian employee. Tertiary education is availale in the form of a degree (Policing BTech) and a diploma (Policing NDip).
Additional Official Language
Tshwane University of Technology
Dip Policing - Diploma Policing
SAPS Academy Tshwane
Basic Police Development Learning Programme (BPDLP)
Why did you choose this profession?
It sort of chose me… I wanted to join the army and went to the police station to get my fingerprints done, papers stamped and signed, but one of the sergeants there, who later became a ‘big brother’ / mentor to me, convinced me otherwise. So, I walked out with forms to join the police instead.
What training did you do?
In 2000, I started in Cape Town Central as a community patrol officer and did my basic police training. Two years later I decided to become permanent police and was transferred to Kraaifontein, where I did Crime Prevention and Complaints. But it was too dangerous, so I joined the Canine Unit. I did my Patrol Dog Handler’s course in 2006, and in 2008, my Explosives Dog Handler’s course. I went on to do the Canine Narcotics course in Pretoria. Three years ago I started at Mowbray Station as Section Manager.
Describe a typical day
I don’t really have a set routine. I start with coffee, check my wall planner, do some admin, then you’ll have a walk in visitor and the day starts to go in all sorts of directions. The homeless people in the area sometimes come in with a tip-off on things they’ve seen. I have my people here I trust. I brief them and go on searches, finding things like stolen property, drugs. My hours are: 7:30am-4pm / 12am-8pm / 10pm-6am. A crime intelligence officer gives us a crime intelligence pattern analysis every month and I plan according to that. I decide my hours and I put in my time.
What do you enjoy most?
I love the interaction with people. I missed that at the Dog Unit.
What don’t you like?
People telling me what to do, and corruption.
What hurdles have you had to overcome?
Getting my job done while getting around corruption despite police having a bad reputation in this regard. It’s only a tiny handful of corrupt people, so we just have to keep doing what we are doing to stamp it out and serve the community.
What’s been the highlight of your career?
When the community thanks you. They send letters of recognition and thanks to you or your station commander and then you feel that you’re making a difference. The police also rewards you with long-service medals every ten years.
What are your future goals?
I would like to keep doing courses like the next firefighting course and also, the Basic Ambulance Assistance course (paramedic line; three weeks).
Is experience as important as formal training?
It’s 50/50. You need both and you’re always going on courses to empower you to do your job better.
Is there a type of personality best suited to this work?
You have to be on a different level of crazy! You must be a strong person; be able to work with the community; you mustn’t get hyped up too quickly; you must be level-headed; be able to take a lot of stress, think on your feet and walk away in certain situations.
Your job in three words
Dangerous, exciting, awesome
Interview date: May 2019