A Sociological Appraisal of Police Crimes and Disciplinary Measures in Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality - South Africa

Friday, 20 July 2018: 16:15
Oral Presentation
Amy LONG, University of Fort Hare, South Africa
Policing as a global concept, involves an exchange of trust between the public and a given police service. The underlying basis of this exchange is the premise that police services exist to protect citizens and their property, and to ensure that order is maintained in societies. The police services by virtue of the nature of their role in society can therefore be regarded as ‘protectors’. The South African Police Services are guided by the same philosophies as policing services globally. Recently in South Africa though, there has been an increase in reports accusing policemen of becoming involved in criminal activities themselves. With a focus on the Buffalo City Metropolitan Area of South Africa, this paper presents the incidences of undocumented police crimes; the perceived causes thereof; and the perceived role of disciplinary procedures (both internally and legally) in preventing such incidences of crime. Findings from this study reveal that policemen are involved in undocumented incidences of white collar, and violent crimes in the Buffalo City Metropolitan Area of South Africa. Most white collar crimes include bribery and corruption; whilst most violent crimes include assault, assault GBH (Grievous Bodily Harm), torture and interrogation techniques with a violent element. Reasons stated for such crimes include inadequate remuneration, frustration at the poor efficacy of the criminal justice system, and general deviance due to criminal elements. Most policemen surveyed in this study stated that they know of policemen who have been involved in unethical and illegal behaviours, and that they do not believe the internal and legal disciplinary measures to be effective in eradicating these incidences. The result of such incidences is that enforcers of the law become the perpetrators of crimes whose nature they are tasked with investigating.