Metro police’s close to 2 000 officers and 1 600 insourced security can now work a four-days-on, four-days-off shift system.
Officers have reportedly been calling for this since 2002, but have had to keep working six days and get three days off. The new shift system, which came into effect on 1 July, is a 6am to 6pm day shift and 6pm to 6am night shift.
Ntombi Khumalo, MMC for Group Corporate and Shared Services, who essentially tends to the needs of the City’s employees, said that there are high divorce, accident and stress-related mortality rates among officers, but believes the shift change will help alleviate the burden.
MMC for Public Safety, Michael Sun, said that officers previously simply accepted the system, but when he spoke to them on the ground, their frustrations were clear.
Through consultation with unions, the City has, however, been able to implement two four-days-on four-days-off shifts, which will, ideally, allow officers to spend more time with their families and get rest. “As a caring administration, our intentions were to improve the working conditions and well-being of the officers without compromising the safety of the residents,” he said.
Metro police chief David Tembe said that it is imperative to have officers who are well rested to perform their work optimally. “You cannot expect tired and demotivated officers to do their job well,” he said.
Joining Metro police officers in the new shift system are the 1 600 insourced security guards.
Hlekani Christina Mabasa, who used to patrol City Power’s Midrand depot, has been promoted to shift security supervisor. She will inspect sites in Region B and run the shifts of fellow insourced security guards.
She said she is pleased with the changes. “I am very very happy, and other security guards are too.”