The Limpopo Police will soon be transparent and accessible thanks to their new communication strategy – or so they say.
According to Brig Shane van der Berg, Head of Research at the South African Police Service’s Head Office, the police have recognised that in the past communications have not been taken very seriously and have now decided that recognition must be given to the importance of communications.
During a two-day workshop with Limpopo Police communicators held in Polokwane last week, the following matters were addressed: non-availability of spokespersons, non-availability of sufficient resources, the fact that the community also demands communication, duplication or conflicting comments from spokespersons, lack of proper as well as sufficient information, attitudes of communicators, communications personnel being changed often, inaccessibility of senior personnel, shortfall or lack of media skills and/or proficiency in certain languages.
The Police’s new communications model has already been implemented at its Head Office and will now be implemented in all the provinces, Van der Berg said.
By the end of the year, there will be a Police Media Centre in the province where members of the media can obtain information with ease and accuracy, he continued.
Limpopo’s new Communications Head was introduced to all present. Brig Hlungwani Mulaudzi will take up his post at the end of February. Also making an appearance on the second day of the workshop was Limpopo Police Commissioner, Lt Gen Amon Mashigo.
Mashigo is a great believer in strong communications and knows how to use the media to assist the police instead of having them as enemies.
Most police communicators attending the workshop said they had learnt a lot about the media and communications and will be applying what they have learnt immediately.
In the case of Provincial Spokesperson, Lt Col Mohale Ramatseba, this is true. His communication skills have become nearly impeccable.
On the other hand, Polokwane Police Spokesperson, Lt Col Moatshe Ngoepe’s communication skills still leave much to be desired. Earlier this week a Polokwane Observer journalist requested a police officer’s first name as it is the policy to always publish first and last names wherever possible. The request was met with a flat out refusal. Ngoepe said he would not supply the name unless he knew the exact contents of what was being written about the police officer in question.
For now, only time will tell whether the Limpopo Police will indeed become accessible and transparent when dealing with the media. LiN News/Polokwane Observer