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Measuring police performance: What do the police do, what should be expected of them?
Date: 24 March 2003 - 30 November -0001

Presented by the


The Public Finance Management Act of 1999 compels all government departments to develop performance indicators and set targets to measure progress. For the police, measuring performance is no simple task. It raises debates about what the police should be doing – a question which in turn means considering what the police actually can do, not only what we would like them to do.

In South Africa and abroad, police managers and analysts have disputed whether the police can in fact prevent crime. Studies have shown no correlation between the number of police deployed and crime rates, and that tactics employed by modern police (visible patrols, rapid response to crime scenes, and investigation by detectives) are not effective in reducing crime. These issues are especially relevant to the SAPS, which must respond to massive public and political pressure with a limited pool of resources and skills. This seminar will consider these questions, based on local and international research on policing.


Ted Leggett (senior researcher, ISS) will discuss the creation of reasonable performance indicators for the SAPS, that are simple and easily collected, and aim to track the most significant aspects of what the police do without creating perverse incentives.

Prof David Bayley, Dean of the School of Criminal Justice at the University at Albany in New York and internationally renowned specialist and author in the field of criminal justice and policing, will respond to Ted’s presentation, and discuss the issue of police performance in the international context.

Copies of the Ted Leggett’s recently released ISS paper, What do the police do? Performance measurement and the SAPS, will be distributed at the seminar.

Date: Monday 24 March 2003

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