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The ANC is advocating a single police service for South Africa in its policy discussion documents released on Monday.

“The municipal, metro and traffic police should be placed under the command and control of the national commissioner of the South African police service, as a force multiplier,” the ANC said in a paper on peace and stability.

“The constitutional imperative that there be a single police service should be implemented.”

According to the document, the debate was not intended to bring a wholesale integration of the police service into one monolith.

It was to enhance the functioning of the metro police, streamline command and control and ensure uniform standards.

This was a clause of the 52nd Conference of the African National Congress, but had not been implemented.

Section 205(1) and 206(7) of the Constitution stated that, in certain instances, metro police could exist, and although they were part of the single police service they were still distinct from it.

“Certainly military police, the [SA Revenue Service] customs unit, game rangers of national parks etc could not have been meant to be in the single police service,” the ANC said.

“It clearly is intended to show how ‘the municipal, metro and traffic police’ are to come under the command of the national police commissioner.”

A “force multiplier” was specifically directed at centralisation of command and control and not on other aspects.

The ANC needed to decide on the appropriate mechanisms to implement the centralisation of command and control.

“The sub-committee is firmly of the view that the… proposals are the most expedient mechanisms to implement the conference resolutions,” the ANC said in the paper.

Consensus was required on whether a single police service meant all law enforcement agencies and whether centralisation of control should take place at once or in stages.

It was also necessary to look at which law enforcement agencies should be regarded “appropriate” for local spheres of government and which services should be included in national and provincial spheres.