n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Perspectives on supervision and mentorship within the South African Police Detective Service

Special Edition 1
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



A review of the literature reveals that not much research has been done on police supervision and mentorship skills, especially within crime investigation departments. Most research literature is limited to leadership on general law enforcement agencies, addressing broad concepts relating to strategic implementation, policy analysis and policing practices. This study aimed to fill a gap in research by examining the challenges on supervision and mentorship within the South African Police Detective Service as reported by investigating officers across rank structure from nine provinces in South Africa. The significance of this study is its unique attempt to identify the influence of supervisor skills on job performance levels of investigating officers. This study was directed towards describing (i) the relationship between supervisor skills and detective overall job satisfaction and (ii) the relationship between the implementation of the formal mentorship programme and detective performance. The questionnaire survey was drafted in an attempt to discover whether supervision behaviour, as well as the mentorship programme are thought to be effective or ineffective by the respondents and what effect these had on respondents in terms of subordinate performance within Detective Service. This non-experimental, quantitative study used law enforcement leadership and/or supervision and mentorship theories to establish research questions. A comprehensive literature review developed considerations for training for detective supervisors, as well as the impact of an effective mentorship programme within the Detective Service. The respondents for this study included investigating officers and first-line supervisors or detective commanders from selected stations across South Africa. Using the five-point Likert Scale survey, the study findings indicated that inadequate levels of training given to general detectives at station level and the poor supervision of and feedback to inexperienced or junior general detectives were major challenges confronting detectives at station level.

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