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Popcru to investigate police trainee mistreatment

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A video has emerged online highlighting the extent of ill-treatment that police trainees are being subjected to. The video shows several cadets gathered around and eating out of a black refuse bin, due to stringent rules that bar them from bringing food into their rooms. The incident is amongst a series of abuses, with trainees comparing their treatment by seniors to that of animals. The video was reportedly shot over two weeks ago at a training college in Bishop Lavis.

The case is being investigated by the Police and Prison Civil rights Union (Popcru), whose provincial chairman, Francisco Fields, took to VOC’s Breakfast Beat to shed more light on the incident. According to him, it had come to the union’s attention that upon returning from their weekend break, trainees were informed that they would not be allowed to return to their rooms with any of the perishable foodstuff they had brought with.

With their meals confiscated, and with the kitchen not open during certain parts of the day, cadets resolved to eating directly from the bin. Most concerning was the suggestions that the incident was part of an ongoing trend at the college.

“There is not only one incident, and that is why we are launching this investigation. This special investigation started yesterday, but it is going to continue until we get further information,” he stated.

Although the video has made headlines, it is just one of a series of mistreatment’s experienced at the facility. Reports have also suggested several incidents where senior officers have sprayed the living quarters of the trainees with pepper spray and tear gas. Fields said that these types of incidents were not only detrimental to the health of the cadets, but also put a dent in their morale.

“How do you get SAPS people to serve the community, but then they are ill-treated within these colleges?” he questioned.

With cadets spending a period of two years in training prior to being instituted in the police, there were also concerns that constant treatment of this nature could contribute to a culture of brutality amongst them.

“If you subject people to training and you treat them inhumanely, what do you expect from a person when he gets out?” he said.

The investigation itself will be conducted with the assistance of SAPS management. Fields said there was a possibility of the investigation being extended to several other training facilities across the province. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)

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