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Protector or predator? Tackling police corruption in South Africa
31 August 2011

Corruption remains a serious challenge to the effectiveness and legitimacy of the South African Police Service (SAPS). This monograph explores corruption in the SAPS prior to and after democratisation in 1994, contextualising the discussion with reference to international and domestic literature on the subject. It explores the causes of police corruption in the South African context and assesses the efforts taken by the SAPS in response to this challenge. Practical recommendations are made as to how the SAPS can significantly reduce incidents of police corruption by enhancing internal accountability, promoting a culture of organisational integrity and mobilising community support. Consolidating decades of research on the subject, this monograph represents the most comprehensive analysis of police corruption in South Africa to date. It also offers an approach that could assist in transforming the SAPS into a police agency that all South Africans want, one that is widely respected for its integrity and professionalism.

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La corruption demeure un véritable challenge pour l’efficacité et la légitimité des services de police Sud Africains (SAPS. Cette monographie rend compte de la corruption chez les SAPS avant et après la démocratisation en 1994, en plaçant comme contexte de la discussion des références à la littérature internationale et locale sur le sujet. Elle explore les causes de la corruption de la police dans le contexte sud africain et évalue les efforts faits par les SAPS pour répondre à ce challenge. Des recommandations pratiques sont faites pour indiquer comment les SAPS peuvent réduire de manière significative les incidences de la corruption de la police en mettant l’accent sur la responsabilité en interne, pour promouvoir une culture d’intégrité organisationnelle et mobiliser un soutien de la communauté. Rassemblant des décennies de recherches sur le sujet, cette monographie représente l’analyse la plus complète de la corruption de la police en Afrique du Sud à ce jour. Elle offre également une approche qui pourrait aider à faire des SAPS l’agence de police que souhaitent tous les Sud Africains, une agence qui soit largement respectée pour son intégrité et son professionnalisme.

About the authors:

Gareth Newham is the Head of the Crime and Justice Programme at the Institute for Security Studies. He has worked closely with members of the SAPS and undertaken research on policing in South Africa since 1998. He obtained his Masters in Public and Development Management from the University of the Witwatersrand with a dissertation on managing police corruption at station level. He also trained station-based commanders on improving performance management and addressing police corruption as part of the Joint University Public Management Education Trust Police Management Training Programme.

Andrew Faull is a Senior Researcher in the Crime and Justice Programme at the Institute for Security Studies. In 2010 he published a book titled `Behind the Badge: the untold stories of South Africa’s Police Service members`. He has also been an active police reservist member for a number of years in different police precincts in the Western Cape and Gauteng.

This publication was made possible through funding provided by the Open Society Foundation of South Africa. In addition, general Institute funding is provided by the governments of Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.
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