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Mixed reaction to deployment of student constables at malls

Popcru believes untrained and unarmed cadets are at risk, while Sapu disagrees.

Saps members raising festive season safety awareness at Brooklyn Mall. Picture: @SAPoliceService.

PRETORIA - While the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) has criticised the police management for deploying student constables to bolster visible policing at malls this festive season, their counter parts at the South African Police Union (Sapu) have welcomed the move.

In their annual drive to ensure a safe holiday period, the police have increased numbers around the country, and have roped in their young cadets to help with the numbers.

Popcru believes these untrained and unarmed students are at risk while Sapu says the training in the field with the support and guidance of senior offices is an advantage.

Sapu's Mpho Kwinika says the student constables will be deployed as part of teams that include qualified and armed members.

"There is no need for anyone to panic. The people whom you see unarmed might be exposed to any danger but there is a lot of policing."

But Popcru's Richard Mamabolo says these students are not supposed to be deployed in the first place.

"They are not qualified to arrest anyone or have firearms to protect themselves. So how do you deploy someone like that? It is illegal and it is wrong what the Saps management has done."

Meanwhile, police management dismissed Popcru's claims that student constables lives will be at risk when they're deployed in a supportive role at the malls.

The police's Vish Naidoo says there is nothing unusual or irregular about deploying student constables into an operational environment where they will supported by experienced and armed members.

"Students undergo basic training. It's a prerequisite for them to be exposed to a few exercises in order for them to complete the basic programme."

But Mamabolo maintains the move is against the law.

#sapsGP Trainees from #SAPS Academy deployed at Benoni Lakeside Mall today to increase police visibility SD pic.twitter.com/skAW6uvZjF

#sapsGP It's been a morning of raising festive season safety awareness at Brooklyn Mall. DD pic.twitter.com/yc5LAWRUzP

#sapsGP Officials interact with Brooklyn Mall festive shoppers to raise awareness on safety for the season. DD pic.twitter.com/VPZD6T638K

#sapsGP The festive season safety awareness campaign in Brooklyn Mall is going on full steam ahead. DD pic.twitter.com/Uq9NnoUNad

#sapsGP Today we are out in Brooklyn Mall to raise festive season safety awareness. DD pic.twitter.com/I0JFkPWoRy

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