*Watch the full interview with Ayanda Allie-Paine, in the gallery above.
JOHANNESBURG - Forget what you think you know about a police academy. Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa is serious about law enforcement training in South Africa.
Earlier this month, Mthethwa said the SAPS' training academy in Paarl, Cape Town, would be turned into a police university.
Speaking to eNCA on Wednesday, Mthethwa said: "We have to keep up with international standards and best practises. And besides... the criminal environment is a very complex area. Crime has also globalised... so it would be important that once we deal with defects within the police [that we] respond to the call of having a professional police service."
He said the scandals that have plagued the police force have left a sour-taste in the mouths of the public. The university, he said, would address various inadequacies within the force.
"We want policing to be a career of choice. As you know, within the police, reside very highly specialised areas be [it] forensic science laboratories, we have pilots within the police and so on. And people don't know about these [positions]. We train police from a professional point of view, regardless of some of the criticism, but we benchmark with others internationally."
He said the SAPS would now implement a stronger academic focus on acceptance into the force. He said this would include having a degree.
Mthethwa said the first students would be existing SAPS officers.
The facility and programme has been drawn up in consultation Unisa and the council of higher education.
The academy will see the first 120 students enrolled in January, he said.